Prevention is at the core of our research on cardiovascular disease and its manifestations, such as hypertension, coronary artery disease, and stroke.
Our investigators design and conduct large-scale interventions to help members reduce their risk levels by improving diet and exercise, losing weight, and quitting smoking. We also study the medical costs and effectiveness of drugs that prevent strokes and lower blood pressure and cholesterol. This work has been a focus of our research portfolio since 1973, when we conducted the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial, our first national collaborative clinical trial.
Another national trial, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), compared a low-fat diet that was high in fruits and vegetables to a typical American diet and to a diet high in fruits and vegetables only. The DASH diet was found to lower blood pressure to the same extent as medication, and results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Following up directly on DASH, the PREMIER study combined the same diet with reductions in sodium, increases in exercise, and other lifestyle changes. In a paper also published in JAMA, the study team reported that adding this program to the DASH diet yielded further blood-pressure reductions and health improvements. PREMIER was followed by the Weight Loss Maintenance Trial, which examined different methods for helping people maintain weight loss.