This article summarizes the recent American Heart Association (AHA) Science Statement, Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations, published in Circulation in the July 4, 2006 issue.1 Improving diet and lifestyle recommendations is a critical component of the AHA’s strategy for cardiovascular disease risk reduction in the general population. Specific goals are to consume an overall healthy diet; aim for a healthy body weight; aim for recommended levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides; aim for normal blood pressure; aim for a normal blood glucose level; be physically active; and avoid use of and exposure to tobacco products. The recommendations are to balance caloric intake and physical activity to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight; consume a diet rich in vegetables and fruits; choose whole-grain, high-fiber foods; consume fish, especially oily fish, at least twice a week; limit intake of saturated fat to <7% of energy, trans fat to <1% of energy, and cholesterol to <300 mg/d by choosing lean meats and vegetable alternatives, fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1% fat) dairy products and minimize intake of partially hydrogenated fats; minimize intake of beverages and foods with added sugars; choose and prepare foods with little or no salt; if you consume alcohol, do so in moderation; and when you eat food prepared outside of the home, follow these Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations. By adhering to these diet and lifestyle recommendations, the risk of developing cardiovascular disease can be substantially reduced, which remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States.

Improving diet and lifestyle is a critical component of the AHA strategy to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD). The 2006 AHA Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations1 were designed to meet this objective and are one component of a comprehensive plan for cardiovascular risk reduction. The recommendations are appropriate for the general public, including adults and children over 2 years of age. Separate AHA dietary recommendations specifically addressing the special needs of growing children have recently been published.2

PMID: 16990564

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