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Cardiovascular Diseases Prevention in Youth in America: Present and Future as Seen from the
InterAmerican Heart Foundation

Bernardo Daniel Igolnikof, MD

Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Youth Committee, Interamerican Heart Foundation,
Lomas del Mirador, Buenos Aires, Argentina

   Cardiovascular diseases have a high prevalence in America (1). Its consequences over the public health worsen the already difficult socio-economic situation of the patients and their societies.

   Cardiovascular diseases prevention is necessary and effective, and scientific consensus indicates that it must begin very early in life (2).

   To be successful in this matter its necessary to add officials and no officials efforts in order to program and develop an organizated prevention work of cardiovascular diseases since childhood.

   In America, in general, this work does not develop with this characteristics.

   The absence of coordinate actions with the necessary official support, and/ or its lack of maintaince for the necessary time, constitutes the general rule, and, in a global view, the inverse situations constitute the exceptions (1).

    The economic resources, sometimes excessive and generally not enough, are used to the assistance more than the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, without looking to the cost-benefit relation that shows that the work must be done in the inverse way.

    Human resources exist, with the scientific knowledge and the firm purpose to change this situation, but they don t find the indispensable support.

    Many countries in America develop cardiovascular diseases prevention programs, most of them isolate and without a coordination among the official, private and/ or non official organizations efforts. They do not have the continuity, the necessary structure and the organization to assure a clearly positive cost-benefit relation for the community.

    If this situation does not change, a large number of children and young american people are going to suffer a cardiovascular disease, in much cases preventable, in a no far future.

    The socio-economic situation of these people will worsen and governments will have to use more and more of their resources for the assistance of the cardiovascular diseases, its complications and consequences.

    In the InterAmerican Heart Foundation we think that we must work in a coordinate way to modify this situation, considering specially the next items:

1. Work in a cardiovascular diseases prevention program since childhood in America, with a great consensus over it.
2. Take the declaration of Rio the Janeiro (3) about cardiovascular prevention since childhood as a basis for the program.
3. Consider the local and regional possibilities and needs and establish goals for the short, medium and long time.
4. Add official non official and private efforts to this work.
5. Add the scientific societies efforts, to establish the necessary scientific basis of the program with its periodic actualizations.
6. Make a consens with the international health organizations and add their support for this program.
7. Create and adopt the evaluation mechanisms for the program. Discuss and adopt its modifications periodically.
8. Create a structure to coordinate this program.
9. Establish the necessary strategic alliances for the development of the programm.
10. Considering the lack of necessary economic resources, a special topic must be evaluating the maximal usefulness of technologic in communication possibilities. It will be very important to use the human resources already existing and the experience of the people and organizations that are already working in this area in America.

   In summary, we consider

1. It does not exist much time to be passive with this situation.
2. Governments, who have now the responsibility to give a solution for the problem of cardiovascular diseases in America, does not show signals of giving it immediately and/or of looking for it in a different way .
3. There are not enough economic resources to work alone.
4. America has many organizations, groups and too much people with the firm decision to change the future of the cardiovascular diseases in this region, to work in a coordinate way, and they do have the experience and scientific knowledge to promote the necessary changes for american child's for a healthy future.
5. They cannot acts a substitute of the governments but can give the necessary support to warranty an effective work in this area.

    Promoting changes in education, health policy, make alliances with all the representative areas of the community in order to prevent cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases and coordinate efforts considering the different problems and possibilities in an american level, are priorities for our organization.

    These also are priorities for our member organizations, and they are permanently showing it in all America, with their own difficulties and possibilities and their compromise with people health.

    The Inter American Heart Foundation has a realistic view of the problem and an optimistic view of our possibilities to help with our work for a healthier future for our people, specially for young people.

    We have made a brief description of the problem, our view of its· present and future, including the way to work for the solutions.

    We trust that in America we are prepared to confront the actual situation in this area and to do it successfully.


1. Heart Disease and Stroke in the Americas 2000. InterAmerican Heart Foundation, in collaboration with the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre on Surveillance of Cardiovascular Diseases in Developing Countries. Feb/ 2000.

2. Report of he Task Force on Children and Youth. James Moller, MD, Chairman, Hugh D. Allen, MD, Edward Black, MD, Adman Dajani, MD, Anne Golden,MD, Laura Hayman, PhD, Ronald Lauer, MD, Ellen Marmer, MD, John Mc Anulty, MD, Suzanne Oparil,MD, Arnold Strauss,MD, Kathryn Taubert, PhD and Anthony Wagner, Members. Circulation, Vol 88 N5, Part I, Nov 1993:2479-2486.

3. InterAmerican Heart Foundation Declaration on Children, Youth and Heart Health, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, april 1998.


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