A Wake Forest School of Medicine led observational study of more than 4,500 individuals revealed those under 75 who adhere to the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet had significantly lower risk of developing heart failure than those whose eating habits were least in keeping with the diet.

The DASH diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy products while a considerable reduction in salt, red meat, sugar-based products including drinks.  Lead investigator Claudia L. Campos, MD noted “only a few prior studies have examined the effects of DASH diet on the incidence of heart failure, and they have yielded conflicting results.”  Dr. Campos summarized “ this research showed that following the DASH diet can reduce the risk of developing heart failure by almost half, which is better than any medicine.”

Follow the link to the source for details including study design and methodology. The results are published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The study was funded by the NIH’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute as well as the National Center for Advancing Translational Science.

TrialSite News has covered news about the imminent cardiovascular crisis faced by America, not to mention many other wealthy countries. But in America the situation is dire. It’s reported half of Americans have some form of heart disease (or risk facing it in future). The CDC reports cardiovascular-based diseases costs the United States $200 billion per year!

Moreover, the CSD reports it is the leading cause of death for both men and women in America—or 630,000 deaths a year.  African Americans and other ethnic minorities may be impacted even greater. Dr. Campos’ study represents one path toward a better tomorrow in fighting heart disease.  Societally we can reduce health care costs (which in the aggregate represent a major contributor to U.S. national debt), increase productivity and most importantly keep our population healthier, happier and more dynamic.  Who doesn’t want their parents or grandparents around longer?

The time is now. The medical establishment must take studies such as this very seriously.  The research establishment should continue to emphasize that a change in lifestyle including diet represents a national security issue. Why? The national costs are too severe; the impact on future costs even greater given demographic changes. Payers should develop visions, strategies and policies that change and redirect how healthcare is paid for—to incentivize behavioral change across the healthcare value chain. The future without a material change represents a costly, dire path.

Lead Research/Investigator

Claudia L. Campos, MD

Source: Eurekalert

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