The National Service Framework for Coronary Heart Disease (NSF for CHD) sets out clinical targets for both primary and secondary prevention but dietary and lifestyle measures remain a vitally important population-based approach to CHD prevention. Though CHD mortality is falling in the UK, a greater focus on lifestyle measures could help to accelerate this fall and to address ethnic and social class differences in CHD. “Emerging evidence – a multidisciplinary approach” was the theme of the Diet and Heart Health Symposium, held in London in October 2002.
A number of recognised dietary and lifestyle measures which the public can make are highlighted in this report. For example, on page S3 of this report we see a summary of the potential impact of a range of dietary measures on blood lipids and lipoproteins, indicating how small but multiple changes by individuals can result in a useful summation of effects. Soya protein has now been added to this list with the recent approval of a health claim for soya protein and cholesterol reduction in the UK. The approval process for such health claims recently granted in the UK by the approval body, the Joint Health Claims Initiative (JHCI), is highlighted.
The promotion of these measures requires a coordinated multidisciplinary approach, and the evolving field of public health nutrition will be pivotal in improving effectiveness. How best to communicate such messages to the public is far from clear, however. The symposium was organised by HEART UK (Hyperlipidaemia Education and Research Trust), the new union between the Family Heart Association and the British Hyperlipidaemia Association. The event was funded by an educational grant from Alpro, manufacturers of soya products.