Food is at the heart of a healthy family

Dec 31 2012

University of Newcastle researchers are targeting parents and grandparents who have suffered a heart attack or stroke in a new research program aimed at improving heart health in children and grandchildren.

Dietitian, Professor Clare Collins*, and PhD candidate Tracy Schumacher, are leading a family-based dietary intervention for people under 70 years who have suffered a heart attack, or under 60 years who have suffered a stroke, in the last few years.

By focusing on Hunter families where there is a history of heart disease or stroke, the study aims to improve heart health in patients’ offspring and assess the effects of a family-based dietary intervention on reducing risk factors such as blood cholesterol.

“People are usually highly motivated to lessen their risk of further health problems and to ensure their family members can reduce their risk,” MsSchumacher said.

“Motivating children to adopt healthy eating patterns can be a challenge, and helping their parents and grandparents to adopt heart healthy eating habits is the first step.

“Families will be given feedback on their dietary intake and assistance to trial the latest heart healthy food-based guidelines.”

The intervention will run for three months and if effective, researchers will investigate implementing the approach through existing health services.

* Professor Collins is Co-Director of the University’s Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition and researches in collaboration with HMRI’s Public Health program.  HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Local Health District, and the community.