Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Human Environmental Sciences

Degree Level



Human Nutrition and Hospitality Innovation


Buckley, Nancy

Committee Member/Reader

Bayyari, Lobat

Committee Member/Second Reader

Whitehead, Isabella


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death globally. CVDs affect the heart and blood vessels. The most prominent CVDs are coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, rheumatic heart disease, and other conditions. More than four out of five CVD deaths are due to heart attacks and strokes.

The most important behavioral risk factors of heart disease and stroke are unhealthy diet and physical inactivity, but also include harmful abuse of tobacco and alcohol. These lifestyle factors display themselves as phenotypes like high blood pressure, high blood glucose and blood lipids, diabetes, and obesity. These risk factors, outside of genotype determinants, have been shown to indicate an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and other complications.

Dietary modifications to improve risk factors for CVD include the reduction of salt in the diet, eating more fruit and vegetables, increased plant-based and whole foods, and switching saturated, overly processed fats for plant oils. Dietary modifications have been shown to reduce cardiovascular events over time and are essential for improving heart health in future generations.


nutrition, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, Mediterranean diet, DASH diet