MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Carol M. Mangione, MD, MSPH, FACP
Barbara A. Levey, MD, and Gerald S. Levey, MD
Endowed chair in medicine
David Geffen School of Medicine
University of California, Los Angeles
Professor of public health at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Americans can experience several health benefits from consuming healthy foods and engaging in physical activity. The Task Force recommends that primary care professionals work together with their patients when making the decision to offer or refer adults who are not obese and do not have hypertension, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, or diabetes to behavior counseling to promote healthful diet and physical activity. Our focus was on the impact of a healthful diet and physical activity on cardiovascular risk because this condition is the leading cause of premature morbidity and mortality. The Task Force evaluates what the science tells us surrounding the potential benefits and harms of a particular preventive service. In this case, the Task Force found high quality evidence focusing on the impact a healthful diet and physical activity can have on a patient’s risk of cardiovascular disease. Relying on this evidence, the Task Force was able to conclude that there is a positive but small benefit of behavioral counseling to prevent cardiovascular disease.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: The evidence indicates a positive but small benefit of behavioral counseling for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in this population. Individuals who are interested and ready to make behavioral changes may be most likely to benefit from behavioral counseling.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Response: Primary care professionals are encouraged to work together with their patients when making the decision to offer or refer adults who are not obese and do not have hypertension, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, or diabetes to behavior counseling to promote healthful diet and physical activity.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: A number of limitations related to the included studies were noted. Additional research on the additive or differential benefit of different counseling foci (i.e., diet, physical activity, or both) in different populations would be helpful in determining whether clinical scenarios focusing on diet alone or physical activity alone is advisable (or preferable) to combined counseling. Finally, most of the trials relied on self-reported dietary and physical activity measures with variable levels of evidence of the reliability and validity of the measures. The tools and summary variables used to measure physical activity were even more inconsistent. It is clear there would be a benefit from more standardization of these measurements; the Task Force hopes studies will implement this standardization in the future.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: It is worth noting that, though this recommendation statement focuses on cardiovascular risk, the Task Force recognizes that healthy eating behaviors and appropriate physical activity can accrue many health benefits.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Citation: US Preventive Services Task Force. Behavioral Counseling to Promote a Healthful Diet and Physical Activity for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Adults Without Cardiovascular Risk FactorsUS Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. JAMA. 2017;318(2):167-174. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.7171
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