Evidence-Based Public Health Interventions Identified

American Heart Association IDs interventions to improve diet and exercise, cut smoking rates

TUESDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Evidence-based public health interventions to improve dietary habits, increase physical activity, and reduce tobacco use are identified in an American Heart Association scientific statement published online Aug. 20 in Circulation.

Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H., from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues reviewed and graded current scientific evidence for effective population approaches to improve dietary habits, increase physical activity, and reduce use of tobacco. Strategy areas included (1) media and education campaigns; (2) labeling and consumer information; (3) economic incentives, including taxation and subsidies; (4) school and workplace approaches; (5) local environmental changes; and (6) direct restrictions and directives.

The researchers identified several specific population interventions that achieved a Class I or IIa recommendation with grade A or B evidence. Specific approaches in all six domains were identified as potentially effective interventions. In addition, the researchers identified specific interventions in each of these domains, for which current evidence was less robust, as well as other inconsistencies and evidence gaps.

"Policy makers should now gather together and say, 'These are the things that work -- let's implement many right away, and the rest as soon as possible,'" Mozaffarian said in a statement. "We have compiled an evidence-based menu of effective interventions for policy makers, stakeholders, and the public based on the results of numerous scientific studies."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and nutrition industries. One author provides testimony against tobacco companies.

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