A new study has demonstrated that small changes in activity leading to a life style change improves overall heart health. The researchers conducted a comprehensive review of large studies that involved behavioral intervention such as individual counseling, group training to improve nutrition or physical activity defined as life style factors. Previous research specified that drug trails failed to reduce mortality. Thirty eight studies were included in the data analysis.
Approximately 80 percent of the randomized clinical trials that included a behavioral intervention reported a significant improvement for the targeted behavior and a significant physiological impact such a reduction in weight or blood pressure. Improvements were observed when the intervention targeted two behaviors at the same time, such as nutrition and physical activity, considered to be lifestyle behaviors. Large clinical drug trials for potential new medications failed to show that those treatments make patients better, and drugs sometimes were associated with undesirable side effects. Modification of health behavior is another option for health providers and their patients.
“This research suggests that behavioral interventions should be taken more seriously,” Dr. Veronica Irvin said. “It indicates that people are able to achieve realistic behavioral changes and improve their cardiovascular health.”
“There are more positive outcomes with these trials, but they don’t often measure mortality,” Irvin said. “The next step for behavioral trials should be to measure results using clinical outcomes, such as the number of heart attacks and hospitalizations, experienced by participants.”
1.Veronica L. Irvin, Robert M. Kaplan. Effect Sizes and Primary Outcomes in Large-Budget, Cardiovascular-Related Behavioral Randomized Controlled Trials Funded by NIH Since 1980. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 2015; DOI: 10.1007/s12160-015-9739-7