Effects of Exercise and Diet on Chronic Disease 

McKinney Chiropractor Best Practices

Research Commentary;

 Exercise to Fight Heart Disease!

Effects of Exercise and diet on chronic disease 

Part 1: Coronary Artery Disease and Hypertension

A review of

Christian K. Roberts and R. James Bernard, Effects of exercise and diet on chronic disease. J Appl Physiol.  98: 3-30, 2005

By Dr. Bryan Stephens

Exercise to Fight Heart Disease!


Summarized Review Conclusions

This article is lengthy as it reviews past medical literature and is filled with great information.  Rather than forcing it into one long review, I will break it up into multiple parts to tackle the chronic diseases individually.  I’ll focus first on Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), a form of heart disease, and Hypertension and the effects diet and exercise have on them.  CAD is the number one killer in men and women and has ranked first in the US every year since 1919.  It is so prevalent that at this point, we all know someone who either has heart disease or has been affected by the disease.  If nobody comes to mind, what about if I mention high blood pressure?  This is always a big focus when we go in for a check-up.  If your blood pressure falls outside of the normal range, you are prescribed medication.  This causes 2 problems.  First, it is focusing only on getting the symptom alleviated at the expense of your overall health.  Second, it does not address the real problem on why your blood pressure is high.  It is high due to some stressor in your life!

That is why this article becomes so crucial.  It shows how to properly lower your risk for heart disease and high blood pressure and gives the medical literature behind it.  Want to know the secret?  I can summarize the entire conclusion for part 1 in one sentence: A proper diet with regular moderate exercise will help not only prevent heart disease but can help reverse the causes of a life ignoring our basic needs.  I will highlight the key points below to further illustrate how important that statement is.

“The relative risk of CAD has been estimated to be about twofold higher for inactive subjects compared with physically active persons”

Powell KE, Thompson PD, Caspersen CJ, and Kendrick JS. Physical activity and the incidence of coronary heart disease. Annu Rev Public Health 8: 253–287, 1987.

“30-40% of CAD was prevented by simply walking briskly (at least) 2.5 hours/week”

Manson JE, Greenland P, LaCroix AZ, Stefanick ML, Mouton CP, Oberman A, Perri MG, Sheps DS, Pettinger MB, and Siscovick DS. Walking compared with vigorous exercise for the prevention of cardiovascular events in women. N Engl J Med 347: 716–725, 2002.

“82% of CAD events could be prevented by a combination of physical activity and diet, providing additional evidence for a combined effect.”

Stampfer MJ, Hu FB, Manson JE, Rimm EB, and Willett WC. Primary prevention of coronary heart disease in women through diet and lifestyle. N Engl J Med 343: 16–22, 2000.

“Significant reductions in blood pressure were noted within 2 weeks, and by 8 weeks diet reduced blood pressure by 5.5/3.0 mmHg in individuals with normal blood pressure and by 11.4/5.5 mmHg in patients with hypertension, with 70% of hypertensive patients exhibiting normal blood pressure after 8 weeks.”

Appel LJ, Moore TJ, Obarzanek E, Vollmer WM, Svetkey LP, Sacks FM, Bray GA, Vogt TM, Cutler JA, Windhauser MM, Lin PH, and Karanja N. A clinical trial of the effects of dietary patterns on blood pressure. DASH Collaborative Research Group. N Engl J Med 336: 1117–1124, 1997.

“Patients with mild hypertension who underwent a walking intervention for 12 weeks decreased both systolic and diastolic blood pressure (8/4 mmHg)”

Higashi Y, Sasaki S, Kurisu S, Yoshimizu A, Sasaki N, Matsuura H, Kajiyama G, and Oshima T. Regular aerobic exercise augments endothelium-dependent vascular relaxation in normotensive as well as hypertensive subjects: role of endothelium-derived nitric oxide. Circulation 100: 1194–1202, 1999

Introduction to the Research

We have all heard that diet and exercise are important.  This review set out to highlight the key aspects of diet and exercise in the medical literature and how it pertains to chronic diseases.  This becomes important as the main killers in western society are currently cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cancer.  Much research has been done on the benefits of lifestyle change in not only prevention of these diseases, but also the reversal of existing diseases.  They also took it a step further by suggesting the possible reasons how diet and exercise worked so efficiently.

Research Methodology

This article was written with the compilated results of 424 different sources ranging from epidemiological, prospective cohort, and intervention studies.

Research Findings

A proper diet with regular moderate exercise will help not only prevent heart disease but can help reverse the causes of a life ignoring our basic needs.  This should sound familiar as I want to underline the importance of this statement.  It is the underlying result that they found in multiple articles.  I will post their summary for CAD and Hypertension as they succinctly underline the need of a change to our lifestyles to avoid chronic diseases such as these.

Physical inactivity and dietary factors both contribute vitally to atherosclerosis and consequent CAD. Studies indicate that inactivity may be as predictive of CAD risk as conventional risk factors, exercise training may improve endothelial function and is superior to percutaneous angioplasty for short-term survival. Additionally, several dietary factors such as fiber, fat (amount and type), glycemic load, and fruit and vegetable consumption appear to significantly modulate CAD risk. Combined exercise and diet interventions mitigate atherosclerosis progression and may in fact induce plaque regression and/or improve myocardial flow reserve. These benefits are, at least in part, due to reductions in plasma lipids, lipid oxidation, and inflammation.”

“Hypertension is the most common cardiovascular disease in the United States and is a hallmark risk factor for CAD and stroke. Both physical activity and diet have been shown to affect the development of hypertension and can lower blood pressure even in those without clinically defined hypertension. The DASH trial documented that blood pressure reductions with dietary intervention may be comparable to single-drug therapy in the absence of weight loss. Exercise training has been shown in numerous studies to lower resting blood pressure, associated with improvements in endothelial function. Convincing as well are data from combined interventions that lower blood pressure.”

Christian K. Roberts and R. James Bernard, Effects of exercise and diet on chronic disease. J Appl Physiol.  98: 3-30, 2005

Research References

As always with these reviews, these are my takeaways from the article and I encourage you to read the article in its entirety.  The references used in this article by the authors of this article are listed here.

Our Message

Our Chiropractors in McKinney, located near the corner of Eldorado Pkwy. and Ridge Rd., take a natural approach to getting rid of soreness caused by low back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, etc. Through Chiropractic adjustments and education, we teach our patients the best ways to relieve pain with Chiropractic and without medicine. We know how important getting the right amount of movement is to your health and help patients Exercise to Fight Heart Disease!