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Vascular structure and function improve with diet and exercise

Some structural and functional measures of cardiovascular disease risk may improve by the eighth week of a diet and exercise regimen, according to a study presented today at the American Heart Association's Sixth Annual Conference on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

"Our lifestyle management program appears to improve the health of the vasculature, so it might lower the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attacks and stroke," said presenter and lead author Kunihiko Aizawa, M.Sc., a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada. "We found that there probably are some things that happen in even eight weeks."

Researchers studied the combined effects of personalized physical exercise and Mediterranean-style diet plans in volunteers with pre-clinical risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The study reported preliminary data from the larger randomized Staged Nutrition and Activity Counseling (SNAC) trial.

A Mediterranean-style diet has impressive cardio-protective effects, according to a 2001 American Heart Association scientific advisory. The diet is high in fruits, vegetables, bread, other forms of cereals, potatoes, beans, nuts and seeds with olive oil as an important fat source, and low to moderate amounts of dairy, fish and poultry.

"There have been studies looking at diet and exercise to prevent or treat cardiovascular disease," said primary investigator Robert J. Petrella, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in the Schulich School of Medicine at the University of Western Ontario. "The difference here is that the calories and composition of the diet and physical activity prescribed were matched to fitness level in an individually tailored fashion and delivered in a family practice setting as opposed to a hospital or laboratory."

The randomized, single-blind trial of SNAC intervention versus usual care lifestyle counseling included 38 patients with high-normal blood pre
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Source:American Heart Association


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