Cardiometabolic risk

Editor's Note - March 2014

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has named March as National Nutrition Month. According to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 68.5% of Americans have a BMI ≥25 kg/m2 and are considered overweight, 34.9% have a BMI ≥30 kg/m2 and are considered obese, and 6.4% have a BMI ≥40 kg/m2 and are considered morbidly obese.1 This means that over one-third of adults and 17% of youth are currently obese. 

Despite these grim statistics, new research is promising: There is a significant decrease (13.9% to 8.4%) in obesity among 2- to 5-year-old children.1 

One study is certainly not definitive, but it is a step in the right direction. Primary care physicians need to continue promoting good nutrition and better eating habits at every patient visit. Consultant360 recently highlighted a few new studies reinforcing this mission:

Cutting out sugar cuts down cardiovascular risk. Scientists at the CDC found that, between 2005 and 2010, approximately 7 in 10 adults consumed 10% or more of their daily calories from added sugar. These data was compared against a 14.6 year NHANES time-trend analysis to find a significant relationship between added sugar and cardiovascular mortality.2

Vegetarian diet may help lower blood pressure. Researchers in Japan found that the systolic blood pressure of vegetarians was 4.8 mm Hg lower than omnivores in clinical trials and 6.9 mm Hg lower in observational studies. This reduction is similar to the health benefits found in a low-sodium diet or a weight reduction of 5 kg.3

Fish may help brain function with age. Researchers found that post-menopausal women with higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids had less total volume brain loss as they aged. This translates into improved brain function for an additional 1-2 years.4 

Dark chocolate is good for the heart. Consuming chocolate daily increased flow-mediated dilation by 1%, which was paralleled by a decreased augmentation index of 1%—indicating an improvement in arterial stiffness. The researchers also noted that dark chocolate helped to lower leukocyte adhesion, a known risk factor in atherosclerosis.5

Visit the Nutrition Medical Resource Center on to read these articles and much more—including how half an avocado at lunch can curb afternoon snacking and how coffee can enhance long-term memory. And tune in for monthly updates from celebrity nutritionist and Consultant360 blogger, Katie Cavuto, MS, RD. 

If you are interested in incorporating nutrition and diet education into your clinical practice, consider attending the 1-day regional CRS Spring meeting (May 31, New Orleans), which features a curriculum developed in conjunction with Tulane University’s Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine. Learn more at


Pooja Shah

Managing Editor, Consultant and Consultant360


1.Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. JAMA. 2014;311(8):806-814.

2.Musante A. Cutting out sugar to cut down cardiovascular risk. Consultant360. 2014 Feb 4. Available at: Accessed March 5, 2014.

3.McGraw M. Vegetarian diet may help lower blood pressure. Consultant360. 2014 Feb 28. Available at: Accessed March 5, 2014.

4.Cavuto K. Increased availability to food contributes to increased obesity rates. Consultant360. 2014 Feb 27. Available at: Accessed March 5, 2014.

5.Musante A. Another great reason to eat chocolate. Consultant360. 2014 Mar 5. Available at: Accessed March 5, 2014.