An editorial in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology recently suggested that “medical research has revealed enough about the causes and prevention of heart attacks, that they could be nearly eliminated”. On the other hand, they lamented that 16 million Americans are living with coronary heart disease and half of million die from it each year. In fact, coronary heart disease is by far the #1 killer in our country, and a major contributor to our health care crisis.

So why is the #1 health problem in our country essentially preventable and yet it continues to be so prevalent? It’s not because prevention doesn’t work, and not because it is “too late” once heart disease or heart attacks have already occurred. The most likely reason is because of our lifestyle choices and behaviors combined with the current approach of treating the precursors and symptoms of heart disease aggressively, but not the causes. It is quite clear to almost all who know the medical literature that an appropriate diet and moderate physical activity on a daily basis will lead to the absence of major cardiovascular risk factors. Furthermore, the absence of major cardiovascular risk factors is clearly shown to be highly protective against cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. In other words, it is really true that heart attacks can be virtually eliminated without the need for drugs, surgery, or some new “miracle breakthrough”. It is as simple as paying careful attention to our diet, our physical activity, our addictions, and our stress levels.