HealthDay News — In a statement published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) urges doctors to provide lifestyle counseling that could help protect the long-term heart health of adults who aren’t yet at high risk for heart attack and stroke

The USPSTF reaffirmed its 2012 recommendation that doctors consider extra counseling on diet and exercise even among their low-risk patients.

“The Task Force encourages primary care clinicians to talk to their patients about eating healthy and physical activity,” Task Force vice chair Susan Curry, PhD, said in a USPSTF news release. “And if they are interested and motivated to make lifestyle changes, offer and refer them to counseling.”

The USPSTF already advised doctors to offer their high-risk patients intensive behavioral counseling to help prevent cardiovascular disease. This type of counseling involves more than a single conversation during a doctor’s visit.

In many cases, patients attend multiple counseling sessions with another health care professional. In its final recommendation published July 11, the panel concluded that primary care doctors should also consider offering healthy lifestyle behavioral counseling to patients who are at moderate or low risk for heart disease, including those who exercise and have a generally healthy diet.

“This recommendation complements separate Task Force recommendations for people at increased risk, which recommend behavioral counseling for all high-risk patients,” Task Force member Carol Mangione, MD, said in the news release.

Reference

Grossman D, Bibbins-Domingo K, Curry S, Barry M, Davidson K, Doubeni C, et al. “Behavioral Counseling to Promote a Healthful Diet and Physical Activity for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Adults Without Cardiovascular Risk Factors.” JAMA. 2017;318(2): 167. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.7171