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WHO publishes results of largest-ever global collaboration on heart disease

This Year’s World Heart Day highlights risk for women, more than 8 million of whom die annually from cardiovascular disease

The World Health Organization (WHO) today launched the result of the largest-ever worldwide collaboration to study heart disease, the MONICA Monograph and Multimedia Sourcebook. The launch has been timed to coincide with World Heart Day, on 28 September, whose theme “Women, heart disease and stroke” aims to draw urgent attention to the fact that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is not just a men’s health problem. Out of the total 16.5 million CVD deaths annually, 8.6 million are of women, while heart attacks and strokes are responsible for twice as many deaths in women as all cancers combined.

“Although most women fear cancer, particularly breast cancer, they do not make the same efforts to safeguard themselves from heart disease, which is eminently preventable,” said Dr Catherine Le Galès-Camus, WHO Assistant Director-General, Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health. “We must strive to make women aware that to keep their hearts healthy, they need to eat smart, kick smoking and move for health.”

Worldwide activities to increase awareness of heart disease in women will be organized on World Heart Day by the World Heart Federation, an NGO dedicated to the prevention of heart disease and stroke.

The launch of the MONICA (MONItoring CArdiovascular disease) Monograph culminates a major research project, conceived in 1979, in which teams from 38 populations in 21 countries studied heart disease, stroke and risk factors from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, the largest such collaboration ever undertaken.

MONICA was important in measuring levels and trends over time in these diseases and their risk factors in different populations, in precipitating and monitoring prevention policies in different countries, and in demonstrating the importance of the new acute and long-term treatments that were increasingly introduced.

All information gathered under the MONICA project has now been brought together in one full colour publication, designed to appeal to both professional and lay audiences. It also includes all the MONICA documents, methods and results in two CD-ROMs. Published by WHO, the monograph has been supported by the European Commission, by medical charities, and by industry.

“MONICA is a model for others, of how collaboration across political and national boundaries can tackle problems shared by the whole of humankind, as well as providing results and ideas that will fascinate everyone interested in heart disease, stroke and risk factors,” said Hugh Tunstall-Pedoe, Editor and chief author of the monograph.

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For more information contact:

Mr David Porter
Telephone: +41 (22) 791 3774
Mobile phone: +41 (79) 477 1740
E-mail: porterd@who.int