Behavioral Intervention to Cut Heart Risk

DETROIT, July 17 (UPI) — Combining behavioral programs may offer the best way to reduce heart disease risk, U.S. researchers suggest.

Nancy Artinian of Wayne State University College of Nursing in Detroit and colleagues authored the American Heart Association Scientific Statement, published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, which suggests combining counseling, extended follow-up from a healthcare provider and self-monitoring of diet and exercise is the most effective behavioral intervention to reduce heart and blood vessel disease risks.

“We need to do a better job finding ways to help people not only change their behaviors, but maintain them over a lifetime,” Artinian says in a statement. “As healthcare providers, we’re pretty good at saying that you are at risk for a disease, you need to lose weight, be more physically active and eat more fruits and vegetables. While that’s easy to say, it’s not easy for the person to actually translate it into their everyday life.”

Artinian and colleagues reviewed of 74 studies involving U.S. adults from January 1997 to May 2007 and identified motivational interviewing technique to encourage patients to make healthier lifestyle choices, counseling patients that occasional setbacks are normal and scheduling recurring follow-up sessions as effective healthcare provider behaviors.

The most effective patient-controlled behaviors include setting specific goals for physical activity and dietary improvements, and keeping track of progress towards their goals, Artinian says.

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