Guide to primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases. A statement for healthcare professionals from the Task Force on Risk Reduction. American Heart Association Science Advisory and Coordinating Committee

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine

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Document Type



Cardiovascular Diseases; *Health Personnel; Humans; Risk Factors


Cardiology | Cardiovascular Diseases | Medical Education | Preventive Medicine | Public Health


The clinical and public health approaches to primary prevention are complementary. Primary prevention refers to guidance given to persons with no known cardiovascular disease. Physicians can contribute to the public health approach through patient education. The first goal of prevention is to prevent the development of risk factors. Physicians should instruct all patients about adopting healthy life habits that will prevent intensification of risk factors. Patient education should be family oriented. Ideally, risk factor prevention begins in childhood. Preventing cigarette smoking by children and adolescents is a prime goal. Another major goal is prevention of overweight and obesity in children and weight gain in adults; overweight lies at the heart of several risk factors. Encouraging life habits that incorporate regular physical activity, especially walking, and active recreational sports likewise will decrease intensity of risk factors. Patients and their families should be encouraged to reduce their intake of cholesterol and saturated fats by using unsaturated vegetable oils instead of animal-based saturated fats and adopting the habit of eating smaller portions. Evaluation of the family history may reveal that other family members need intervention to avoid developing cardiovascular disease. Adoption of healthy life habits and early intervention will mitigate the severity of risk factors that are the result of aging and genetic factors.


cardiovascular diseases, risk factors, prevention, AHA Medical/Scientific Statements

DOI of Published Version



Circulation. 1997 May 6;95(9):2329-31.

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