Is there a role for lifestyle changes in cardiovascular prevention? What, when and how?
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BACKGROUND AND AIMS
Lifestyle has been found to play an important role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). There is evidence to suggest that if lifestyle factors are modified successfully, the relative risk of CVD can be reduced. Risk factors for CVD such as high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus and dyslipidaemias can be modified by lifestyle changes. The main aim of this article is to provide best practice approaches and support for healthcare professionals on the role of lifestyle changes in the prevention of CVD.
A working group of experts discussed existing guidelines, clinical practice and evidence, and provided their recommendations on ten topics concerning the role of lifestyle in CVD prevention. These topics covered important lifestyle factors as well as tools/approaches to assess or encourage lifestyle changes.
The group of clinical experts collaborated to provide their opinion on the following topics: one diet versus customised diets; the role of alcohol consumption in a healthy diet; a diet based on nutrient composition or on whole foods; a Mediterranean versus low-fat diet; the role of dietary supplements; physical activity; smoking cessation; the role of a nutritionist/dietitian in a CVD risk multidisciplinary team; tools to be implemented to assess diet, physical activity and smoking status; and the most effective approaches to encourage lifestyle changes.
The expert working group agreed that lifestyle changes were important in preventing CVD and provided recommendations which complemented current guidance and increased clarity on several topics.