Book DescriptionThe findings of the Framingham Heart Study–begun in 1948–have been nothing short of revolutionary. Over the years, they have provided conclusive evidence that cardiovascular disease is largely the result of measurable and modifiable risk factors, and that individuals can gain control over their heart health by looking carefully at their diet and lifestyle and changing their intake of saturated fat, cholesterol, and tobacco smoke; losing weight or becoming physically active; and regulating their levels of stress and blood pressure. It is principally because of the Heart Study that this understanding of what was once deemed a “silent killer” today seems intuitive.
The Framingham Heart Study was launched not long after Franklin Delano Roosevelt succumbed to a massive stroke, the result of runaway blood pressure, at a time when cardiologists in the United States numbered fewer than 400 and heart disease was the nation’s number- one cause of death. The study asked 5,209 citizens of Framingham, Massachusetts–who overate, smoked, and suffered heart attacks and strokes to the same extent as the rest of the United States–to undergo biennial physicals, blood tests, and detailed interviews concerning their behavior. The results changed the course of medical history.
Written by the Study’s current director and a national health reporter, A Change of Heart is the first account of this heroic cooperation between the U.S. Public HealthService and the people of Framingham. It is a fascinating, clear-eyed assessment of the achievements and challenges of the Framingham Heart Study to date, and of its continuing importance.