admin - April 26, 2011
A recent HealthDay News article reports that US health officials and the American Heart Association (AHA) have embarked on a national effort aimed at helping to reduce deaths from heart attack, stroke, and coronary artery disease through prevention.
“The goal is to shift the population to a healthier lifestyle,” the article cites Dr. Ralph L. Sacco, president of the AHA and chairman of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. “It’s a much more prevention-oriented goal than we have had in the past.”
The program for these heart healthy goals is called Healthy People 2020 and is an effort to improve the nation’s health in the next decade. It calls for raising awareness, increasing testing, and increasing preventive measures, in order to improve the cardiovascular health of Americans by 20%.
As part of the 2020 goal, the US Department of Health and Human Services has identified specific cardiovascular disease prevention measures for people to follow, called Life’s Simple 7. These measures include:
- More exercise (150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week).
- Lowering cholesterol intake to less than 200 milligrams per deciliter.
- Eating more fish, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains while cutting back on sodium and fats.
- Keeping your blood pressure below 120/80.
- Keeping your body mass index below 25.
- Reducing blood sugar.
- Smoking cessation.
It is the strategy of US Health Officials and the AHA to market these healthy behaviors and even work to change public policy. Examples of changing public policy would be to design communities to promote walking, provide better access to fresh fruits and vegetables nationally, and reduce sodium in manufactured foods.
According to Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, chairman of preventive medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, it is the public policy that could be the essential element in the success of the endeavor just as it has worked with the smoking bans across the country.
Tell us what you think. Will you make an effort to change your lifestyle? Would you welcome public policy changes?
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