Dr. John Epling, M.D., M.S.Ed Professor of family and community medicine Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in Roanoke, VA. Medical director of research for family and community medicine Medical director of employee health and wellness for the Carilion Clinic

USPSTF: Behavioral Counseling Recommended For Patients at Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. John Epling, M.D., M.S.Ed Professor of family and community medicine Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in Roanoke, VA. Medical director of research for family and community medicine Medical director of employee health and wellness for the Carilion Clinic

Dr. Epling

Dr. John Epling, M.D., M.S.Ed
Professor of family and community medicine
Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in Roanoke, VA.
Medical director of research for family and community medicine
Medical director of employee health and wellness for the Carilion Clinic
Dr. Epling joined the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in January 2016.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease and stroke, is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Nearly half of all adults have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Evidence shows that counseling aimed at helping people improve their diet and increase their physical activity can help prevent cardiovascular disease. This typically involves a trained counselor who provides education, helps people set goals, shares strategies, and stays in regular contact.

The Task Force recommends behavioral counseling interventions that promote a healthy diet and physical activity to help people at risk for cardiovascular disease stay healthy.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The biggest takeaway from this recommendation is that people with certain cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels can benefit from counseling to help them stay healthy. Effective behavioral counseling interventions usually include multiple contacts over several months, either through individual or group counseling sessions. These can take place in-person, over the phone, or online.

It is also important to note that everyone, regardless of their cardiovascular disease risk, can benefit from healthy eating and physical activity.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Among other needs, the Task Force is calling for additional research that will allow us to better assess the effect of wearable activity trackers and online resources or other low-contact approaches, especially those that might be useful in settings where fewer resources are available to help people stay healthy.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? Any disclosures?

Response: It’s important to note that this recommendation does not apply to adults who have diabetes, obesity, or those without risk factors. The Task Force has a number of other recommendations concerning healthy eating and physical activity for different groups of adults. The Task Force encourages all adults to talk to their primary care clinician about ways to help reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease and which preventive services might be best for them.

Citation:

US Preventive Services Task Force. Behavioral Counseling Interventions to Promote a Healthy Diet and Physical Activity for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Adults With Cardiovascular Risk Factors: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. JAMA. 2020;324(20):2069–2075. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.21749

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