The abstract for the Ancel Keys Lecture, presented at Scientific Sessions 2000, was inadvertently excluded from the supplement to Circulation (Scientific Sessions Abstracts, October 31, 2000 issue; volume 102, number 18, supplement II). The abstract for this memorial lecture appears below.
Ancel Keys Lecture
The Seven Country Coronary Disease Study (1970) represents Ancel Keys’ most important contribution. This landmark project drew our attention to the very large differences in coronary heart disease among countries, leading the way to other international studies, such as the World Health Organization’s MONICA project, which further underscored the vast intercountry cardiovascular disease (CVD) differences of more recent decades. A second World Health Organization publication, Global Comparative Assessments in the Health Sector, projected major CVD trends to the year 2020. This publication and the International Heart Health Conferences’ policy documents (the Victoria, Catalonia, and Singapore Declarations of 1992, 1995, and 1998) have shown that developing countries are moving rapidly to mimic the developed countries’ disease burdens, creating a global CVD pandemic with major health and economic consequences. These Declarations provided evidence for our technological competence to prevent most CVD but noted barriers to action, including scientific apathy, a cultural shift away from prevention (ie, “worship of the Genome Project”), and lack of advocacy and political action.
Unfortunately, the United States lags many developed countries in its support for international health. Fortunately, a strong moral imperative for all countries to fight CVD has both practical and economic sides: (1) Economic benefits of prevention are 2 to 3 times that of expenditures. (2) The United States would now face CVD costs 3 times as great if the rising CVD rates from 1950 to 1967 had continued. (3) Developing counties already experience hindered economic development through inaction (ie, China finds that costs attributable to tobacco-related diseases now exceed tobacco tax income; see the Singapore Declaration). Ancel Keys’ legacy can help us avoid repeating worldwide all the mistakes made by developing countries.
- Copyright © 2001 by American Heart Association