Healthy eating and healthy living go hand-in-hand. A wholesome and nutritious diet is known to be good for overall well-being. Hence, experts always advise keeping a check on what we eat on a regular basis. Echoing the same thought, a team of nutrition and cardiovascular disease experts recently stated that in today’s world, people should include dietary assessment and counselling in their routine health check-ups regimes. This statement, issued by the American Heart Association and was published in the association’s journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

“Dietary patterns and quality are not sufficiently prioritised when addressing modifiable risk factors during regular healthcare office visits. Given the evidence that diet contributes to disease and mortality, it is a risk factor worth screening for continuously,” said Maya Vadiveloo, Ph.D., RD, chair of the statement writing group and assistant professor of nutrition and health sciences in the College of Health Science at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, Rhode Island.

A report in ANI further stated that a 2017 Global Burden of Disease study found that poor-quality diet led to 11 million deaths and about half of the cardiovascular disease (CVD) deaths globally.

To understand the reason behind why healthcare team do not address diet-related issues during a routine check-up, the experts at American Heart Association listed some points that included lack of training and knowledge, lack of time and reimbursement et al. However, as per Vadiveloo, these barriers can be brought under control with time.

“An important component in addition to evaluating diet quality is targeting actionable changes – helping patients set achievable dietary goals – and then following up at the next visit,” said Alice H. Lichtenstein, D.Sc., vice-chair of the writing group and lead and senior scientist of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Team at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston.

As per the researchers, further studies are needed in regard to incorporation of effective dietary screening in routine check-up system.

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