National Academy of Medicine

Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Starts in Childhood

By Kristina S. Petersen and Penny M. Kris-Etherton
May 26, 2017 | Commentary

The importance of good nutrition practices on health and well-being has been recognized for thousands of years. One familiar quote attributed to Hippocrates, “Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” illustrates our long-time appreciation of the important relationship between diet and health. Hippocrates is also recognized for his seminal philosophy about the importance of lifestyle behaviors for good health, as conveyed in the quote: “If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.” More recently, two-time Nobel laureate Linus Pauling extolled the virtues of a healthy diet, stating, “Good nutrition will prevent 95 percent of all diseases.” Despite this long-held recognition about the importance of good nutrition and lifestyle practices, we are confronted with an epidemic of nutrition- and lifestyle-related diseases that have created a huge burden on society. Consequently, there is an urgent need to advocate for healthy lifestyle practices, including good nutrition, to reduce the global burden of many chronic diseases.


Download the graphic below and share it on social media!




Suggested Citation

Petersen, K. S. and P. M. Kris-Etherton. 2017. Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Starts in Childhood. NAM Perspectives. Commentary, National Academy of Medicine, Washington, DC. doi: 10.31478/201705a


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily of the authors’ organizations, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies). The paper is intended to help inform and stimulate discussion. It is not a report of the NAM or the National Academies. Copyright by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.