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New Lifestyle Guidelines for Heart Health, Similar for Cancer Prevention

veggies formed into a heart shapeNew guidelines on lifestyle management for heart health released last week now focus on overall eating patterns, rather than just saturated fat or sodium. The guidelines add to the body of research showing that diet and physical activity recommendations are similar for both heart health and cancer prevention.

The guidelines come from an expert task force convened by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. They are part of a series of three evidence-based recommendations published on reducing cardiovascular disease risk that includes lifestyle, drug and obesity management recommendations.

Examples of overall eating patterns the paper includes the plant-based DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and Mediterranean diets. They also align with AICR’s recommendations for cancer prevention, including limiting sugary beverages, red meat and salt/sodium.

Key take-aways from the new heart health guidelines include:

  1. Choose a diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains; also include low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, nontropical oils (such as olive or canola oils) and nuts.
  2. Limit your sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages.
  3. Limit red meats.
  4. Reduce trans fat and saturated fat (5% to 6% of total calories for saturated fats).
  5. To lower blood pressure, reduce sodium.
  6. Be physically active for 40 minutes, 3-4 times a week, at moderate-to-vigorous intensity.

These specific diet and physical activity guidelines reduce CVD risk regardless of their effect on weight according to the report.  There are separate guidelines for management of overweight and obesity.

Robert H. Eckel, MD, FAHA; John M. Jakicic, PhD; Jamy D. Ard, MD; Nancy Houston Miller, RN, BSN, FAHA; Van S. Hubbard, MD, PhD; Cathy A. Nonas, MS, RD; Janet M. de Jesus, MS, RD; Frank M. Sacks, MD, FAHA; I-Min Lee, MD, ScD; Sidney C. Smith, MD, FACC, FAHA; Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, FAHA; Laura P. Svetkey, MD, MHS; Catherine M. Loria, PhD, FAHA; Thomas W. Wadden, PhD; Barbara E. Millen, DrPH, RD, FADA; Susan Z. Yanovski, MD. 2013 AHA/ACC Guideline on Lifestyle Management to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk. A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines | J Am Coll Cardiol. 201. November 2013.

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