MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Holly Gooding, MD, MSc
Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics
Harvard Medical School
Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine
Boston Children’s Hospital
Division of General Internal Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Dr Stephanie Chiuve and colleagues at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health developed the Healthy Heart Score to predict the risk of heart disease in older adults based on lifestyle factors measured in middle age. We have known for some time that the precursor to heart disease – known as atherosclerosis – actually starts in childhood and adolescence. We calculated the Healthy Heart Score for young adults ages 18-30 years old and found it works in this age group as well.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Response: Readers should recognize that diet, physical activity, smoking, alcohol intake, and body mass index are important for the future risk of heart disease, even in otherwise young healthy people without other risk factors for heart disease like hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Interested readers can calculate their own Healthy Heart Score at at https://healthyheartscore.sph.harvard.edu/ and receive personalized advice for improving their heart health.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: We don’t yet know whether knowledge of one’s Healthy Heart Score will actually lead to the lifestyle changes necessary to prevent future heart disease. We are planning to study the use of the Healthy Heart Score to see if it can motivate heart healthy behavior change. Because it does not require clinical measurements, like blood pressure or blood tests, it could be completed in the waiting room to help start the conversation with a personal physician, at public health community events, or even on-line. The steps between knowledge and behavior change are difficult, but we are hopeful the Healthy Heart Score can serve as a catalyst for change for many individuals.
Disclosures: This research is funded by the NHLBI.
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Gooding HC, Ning H, Gillman MW, Shay C, Allen N, Goff DC, Lloyd-Jones D, Chiuve S. Application of a Lifestyle-Based Tool to Estimate Premature Cardiovascular Disease Events in Young AdultsThe Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study. JAMA Intern Med. Published online July 17, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.2922
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