While vitamin and supplement enthusiasts are constantly under attack by the FDA, and their access to health care of choice is being threatened by Big Pharma's effort to control vitamins, minerals and herbs, the USDA is on a different track.
In the August 12, 2008 (American Heart Association) journal Circulation a study report shows that just five healthy lifestyle factors may confer significant protection against stroke.
Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School evaluated data from 43,685 men who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and 71,243 women from the Nurses’ Health Study. Information about five characteristics of lifestyle factors was obtained from questionnaires completed by the subjects at several time points during the studies’ follow-up periods. The low-risk lifestyle included: not smoking, having a body mass index of less than 25 kilograms per cubic meter, participating in at least 30 minutes per day of moderate activity, modest alcohol intake (defined as 5 to 30 grams per day for men and 5 to 15grams per day for women), and a high healthy diet score.
The one USDA diet score vector that caught my interest was the use of multivitamins for a minimum of five years.
I do not at all agree with the USDA in its inclusion in the healthy diet score of soy, selection of fats and processed cereals, but I wish to stress the importance of the use of vitamins. The over processing of food added to the amount of processed and prepared foods leads to nutritional deficiencies and health deterioration.
More about processing food can be found here -
"The findings do support adherence to a low-risk lifestyle is associated with lower risk of stroke, especially ischemic stroke, which adds to the data on the prevention of multiple chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease and diabetes,” the authors conclude. “This study further supports the beneficial impact of a low-risk lifestyle on the primary prevention of chronic disease and long-term well-being.”
Other studies have found that a diet high in vegetables and fruits lowers risk of cerebrovascular disease and both ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke (Gariballa SE 2000; Sauvaget C et al 2003). Two major reviews recommended that public health policy promote increased dietary intake of antioxidant vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E, B vitamins (including folate), potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids to reduce risk of stroke (Gariballa SE 2000; Johnsen SP 2004). These vital nutrients can be obtained through dietary supplements in conjunction with a healthy diet.
Perhaps the moral here is that these government mega-agencies might do better if they engaged in communication. Overall health status for everyone just might improve as a result.