patient lifestyle advice - for primary and secondary prevention of CVD

Last reviewed 05/2021

Lifestyle changes for primary and secondary prevention of CVD

  • Cardioprotective diet
    • aim to have to eat a diet in which:
      • total fat intake is 30% or less of total energy intake
      • saturated fats are 10% or less of total energy intake
      • dietary cholesterol is less than 300 mg/day
      • saturated fats are replaced by monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats

    • eat at least:
      • five portions of fruit and vegetables per day
      • two portions of fish per week, including a portion of oily fish

      • pregnant women to limit their intake of oily fish to two portions a week
      • look at and for advice on healthy eating and portion size
      • omega-3 fatty acid supplements or plant sterols and stanols are not routinely recommended for primary prevention

  • Physical activity
    • take 30 minutes of at least moderate intensity exercise a day at least 5 days a week
      • people who cannot manage this amount of exercise should undertake exercise at their maximum safe capacity
    • exercise that can be incorporated into everyday life, such as brisk walking, using stairs and cycling
    • can exercise in bouts of 10 minutes or more throughout the day

  • Weight management
    • work towards achieving and maintaining a healthy weight

  • Alcohol consumption
    • men to limit their alcohol intake to 3-4 units a day
    • women to limit their alcohol intake to 2-3 units a day
    • avoid binge drinking
    • look at for information on alcohol units

  • Smoking cessation
    • if a smoker then reduces risk of heart attack or stroke if you stop smoking