Rajesh Vedanthan MD, MPH, Sameer Bansilal MD, MS, Ana Victoria Soto MD, Jason C. Kovacic MD, PhD, Jacqueline Latina MD, Risa Jaslow MS, RDN, Maribel Santana BS, Elio Gorga MD, Andrew Kasarskis PhD, Roger Hajjar MD, Eric E. Schadt PhD, Johan L. Björkegren MD, PhD, Zahi A. Fayad PhD, MSE and Valentin Fuster MD, PhD
JACC (Journal of the American College of Cardiology), 2016-04-12, Volume 67, Issue 14, Pages 1725-1737, Copyright © 2016 American College of Cardiology Foundation
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality in the world, and the increasing burden is largely a consequence of modifiable behavioral risk factors that interact with genomics and the environment. Continuous cardiovascular health promotion and disease prevention throughout the lifespan is critical, and the family is a central entity in this process. In this review, we describe the potential rationale and mechanisms that contribute to the importance of family for cardiovascular health promotion, focusing on: 1) mutual interdependence of the family system; 2) shared environment; 3) parenting style; 4) caregiver perceptions; and 5) genomics. We conclude that family-based approaches that target both caregivers and children, encourage communication among the family unit, and address the structural and environmental conditions in which families live and operate are likely to be the most effective approach to promote cardiovascular health. We describe lessons learned, future implications, and applications to ongoing and planned studies.