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Healthy lifestyle helps reduce the risks of heart disease and stroke
Various large health organizations such as the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association point out that1,2, lifestyle modification plays an important role in preventing cardiovascular diseases, by controlling risk factors such as high blood pressure, high blood lipid, high blood glucose and being overweight.

The American Heart Association suggests1,2:
1. Adopt a healthy balanced diet 
Evidence shows Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) helps control blood lipid, blood pressure and blood glucose (see table below). The Association suggests that MNT must be personalized and carried out by a registered dietitian. 
2. Be physically active every day
Perform at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Evidence shows that regular exercise helps control blood lipid, blood pressure and blood glucose (see table below). 
   Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT)
Regular Exercise
Blood Lipid
  • Reduce the consumption of food that are high in saturated fat, trans fat or cholesterol. Adopt a healthy and balanced diet.
  • Evidence shows that MNT reduces LDL-cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) by 0.8-1.4 mmol/L
  • Evidence shows that regular exercise helps decrease LDL-cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) by 5.0%, total cholesterol by 1.0%, triglycerides by 3.7%, and raise HDL-cholesterol (“good” cholesterol) by 4.6%
 Blood Pressure
  • Evidence shows that  reducing sodium intake helps reduce systolic blood pressure by 2-8 mmHg
  • Evidence shows that DASH diet helps reduce systolic blood pressure by 8-14 mmHg
  • Evidence shows that not drinking excessively helps cut systolic blood pressure by 2-4 mmHg
  • Evidence shows that regular exercise helps lower systolic blood pressure by 4-9 mmHg
Blood Glucose
  • Evidence shows that MNT improves blood glucose and reduce HbA1c by an average of 0.25 to 2.9%
  • Evidence shows that regular exercise improves blood glucose and reduce HbA1c by an average of 0.66%
3. Maintain a  healthy weight and waistline 
According to the World Health Organization BMI classification3, the healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) for Asians and Caucasian adults should be 18.5-22.9 and 18.5-24.9 respectively. The waistline should not exceed 37 inches and 35.5 inches for Asian and Caucasian men respectively, and no more than 31.5 inches for all women. Evidence shows that being overweight is a major risk factor of many chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, breast cancer and colon cancer. Evidence also indicate that if overweight people lose 5 to 10 percent of their initial body weight, they will improve their control of blood glucose, blood lipid and blood pressure, which in turn lower the risk of developing chronic diseases.
Pro-Cardio Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Centre offers Lifestyle Modification Program to help participants adopt a healthy diet and lifestyle to prevent risks of developing chronic diseases. The two main factors of a lifestyle modification program include: (1) Dietetic Consultation and (2) Exercise Prescription


1.Buse JB et al. Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Diseases in People With Diabetes Mellitus: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association. Circulation 2007;115:114-126. URL: http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/115/1/114
2.Lichtenstein AH et al. AHA Scientific Statement Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations Revision 2006. Circulation. 2006;114:82-96. URL: http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/114/1/82
3. World Health Organisation: BMI Classification URL: http://apps.who.int/bmi/index.jsp?introPage=intro_3.html (assessed Nov 2010)

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