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Researchers identify 43 top health-improving strategies, from better playgrounds to higher tobacco taxes

Government policies that make healthy foods more affordable, local environmental improvements that make streets more walkable, and media campaigns that promote healthy lifestyles are among the menu of 43 effective public health strategies identified in an American Heart Association (AHA) scientific statement published online August 20, 2012 in Circulation.

The statement, which is based on a review of more than 1,000 international studies of diet, physical activity and anti-tobacco public health interventions, is intended to spur policy makers and other stakeholders to take action to improve the public’s health. Less than one percent of Americans meet the American Heart Association’s criteria for ideal cardiovascular health. Poor diet, sedentary lifestyles, and tobacco use are the leading causes of preventable diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.

“Policy makers should now gather together and say, ‘These are the things that work – let’s implement many right away, and the rest as soon as possible,’” said Dariush Mozaffarian, chair of the statement writing group and associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at HSPH, in an AHA press release.

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