Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of mortality in the European Union, causing more than 1.8 million deaths per year, as well as a great loss of potential years of life. Prevention plays a key role in reducing mortality linked to cardiovascular diseases. The risk factors that most expose people to heart disease are behavioral risk factors, such as little or no physical activity, poor diet, smoking, alcohol abuse; and medical risk factors such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, high body mass index or high cholesterol.
The Young50 project, co-funded by the European Commission, promotes the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. In addition, it adapts and exports the Italian Cardio50 screening model within the European Union Member States – and in particular to Lithuania, Romania and Luxembourg – in order to improve the health of the screened population.
Young50 is a programme of screening visits performed by health professionals. It evaluates the lifestyle of a 50-year-old population (smoking, diet and physical activity) and measures height, weight, waist circumference, blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure, in order to identify people with inadequate lifestyles and new cases of hypertension, hyperglycemia and hypercholesterolemia. Young50 classifies the screened persons into 1 of 5 Cardiovascular disease risk categories, in order to address them to the different and appropriate related pathways.
Young50 activates an integrated model of care to help modify or reduce cardiovascular risk factors in healthy people, promote interventions to change unhealthy lifestyles, and increase knowledge and awareness of cardiovascular disease risk among healthy people in European countries.