United Nations member states have agreed to reduce premature cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality 25% by 2025. Global CVD risk factor targets have been recommended. We produced estimates to show how selected risk factor reduction would affect CVD mortality for different regions and countries.


We used mortality, risk factor, and relative risk data from the Global Burden of Diseases, Risk Factors, and Injuries (GBD) 2013 study to project CVD mortality for 188 countries up to the year 2025. We disaggregated observed CVD mortality in 1990 and 2013 into deaths attributable and unattributable to hypertension, tobacco smoking, diabetes mellitus, and obesity using an age- and sex-specific population-attributable fraction. Risk factors were projected to 2025 assuming that current trends continue. Counterfactual scenarios were then constructed reflecting CVD premature mortality if United Nations risk factor targets are achieved in the year 2025, adjusting for joint effects of risk factors. We estimate 7.8 million premature CVD deaths in 2025 if current risk factor trends continue. Premature CVD deaths would be reduced to 5.7 million if these risk factor targets are achieved, as a result of a 26% reduction for men and a 23% reduction for women in the global risk of premature CVD death. Globally, decreasing the prevalence of hypertension accounted for the largest risk reduction, followed by a reduction in tobacco smoking for men and obesity for women, but these results varied by region. The impact of meeting all risk factor targets on CVD mortality varied widely by region and sex.


The United Nations target of a 25% reduction in premature CVD mortality by the year 2025 appears achievable for some countries, but more aggressive risk factor targets may be required if all regions are to reach this goal. Without these reductions in CVD risk factors, many countries will see no change or even an increase in premature CVD mortality.


Roth GA, Nguyen G, Forouzanfar MH, Mokdad AH, Naghavi M, Murray CJL. Estimates of global and regional premature cardiovascular mortality in 2025Circulation. 2015 Sep 25; 132:1270-1282. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.115.016021.