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On World Heart Day 29th September 2014, more than 3,500 people around the world have signed a global petition calling on national and international leaders to recognize the importance of heart-healthy environments, to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

CVD, which includes heart disease and stroke, is the world’s number one killer. At least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be prevented by addressing risk factors such as tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, salt intake, physical inactivity and raised blood pressure.

Too often, the onus for lifestyle changes is put on the individual; stop smoking, eating an unhealthy diet and not exercising. However, what is often forgotten is that many people don’t always have opportunity to make the right choice due to the confines of their home, work, school or community environments. For example:

• People who live in urban areas are often exposed to increased...

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