Article Explores Strategies For Promoting and Improving CV Health

More clearly defined priorities for promoting and improving cardiovascular health are necessary to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in the U.S., according to a 'Review Topic of the Week' published Aug. 17 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Joseph T. Knapper, MD, et al., examine current approaches across the nation to promote cardiovascular health and the factors impacting cardiovascular health. The researchers note that ideal cardiovascular health is defined as the absence of cardiovascular disease, favorable levels of health factors, and the presence of favorable health behaviors. Based on this definition, the researchers emphasize the need to "prevent the development of cardiovascular disease in the first place" through preventive health, as well as identifying and treating disease.

Knapper et al. cite government interventions, public health initiatives, workplace interventions, school-based interventions, media campaigns and environmental interventions as the most comprehensive approach to promoting cardiovascular health on a local and national level. These interventions include policies that levy tax on unhealthy products – like cigarettes and sugar-sweetened beverages – worksite wellness programs, teacher training in physical education curricula, smoking cessation campaigns, recreational facilities and national programs like the Million Hearts initiative. These societal interventions are able to combat factors like diet, physical inactivity, cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption, which negatively impact cardiovascular health.

The authors conclude that "a more cost-effective strategy for reducing cardiovascular disease would involve a paradigm shift that focuses more on the identification and promotion of cardiovascular health across the lifespan ... and [would] require a concerted effort from all invested parties."

To that end, the College recently convened leaders in all aspects of health care for a two-day Population Health Retreat to discuss how to focus resources to prevent cardiovascular disease and related health conditions. Moving forward, ACC's Population Health Policy and Promotion Committee is working with partners inside and outside the College to build a population health agenda for the ACC that encompasses a holistic view of health promotion. The agenda will include elements of primary and secondary prevention at local, state, national and international levels, and will be presented later this year to the ACC Board of Trustees.

"It is time to change the paradigm and focus on prevention," said ACC President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC, in a statement. "We need to adopt healthier lifestyles, including improved nutrition and more physical activity. We have to become life coaches and good examples of healthy lifestyle in order to promote lifestyle improvement."

Listen to the audio commentary by JACC Editor-in-Chief Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, MACC.

Clinical Topics: Prevention, Diet, Smoking

Keywords: Diet, Health Behavior, Health Policy, Health Promotion, Life Style, Physical Education and Training, Public Health, Public Policy, Secondary Prevention, Smoking, Smoking Cessation, Sweetening Agents

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