Goal 1: Promote Human Health

Studying Health in Addition to Disease

Why do some people stop smoking after a stroke or myocardial infarction, whereas others do not? What motivates people who adopt a healthier diet and exercise program during their lifetime or after a significant health event? How can we promote healthier lifestyle choices at all stages of life? How do we ensure equitable health promoting activities for minorities, vulnerable populations, and lower socio-economic status (SES) individuals? There are many different aspects of cardiovascular health we can explore using this paradigm shift to include studying wellness and healthy people.

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC

Answering this critical question would enable us to have a more complete picture both of disease and of health.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC

It is feasible to address this critical question because we need to expand our understanding of how people remain healthy or regain health, especially given the unhappy statistics concerning obesity, physical activity, blood pressure, diabetes, etc.
Few would disagree with the importance of studying the epidemiology, mechanisms, and progression of disease: research is focused on preventing or curing diseases. In addition to this disease-focused model, there are untapped opportunities to examine health and wellness. Borrowing from the field of Positive Psychology, which is the study of the aspects or characteristics of mental health (e.g., the strengths, values, behavior that contribute to well-being), we can expand this idea to study the aspects of those who remain healthy, who have retained health after disease, or who have successfully made healthy lifestyle changes. In terms of obesity, an example of this idea is Rena Wing’s National Weight Control Registry, which studies individuals who have successfully maintained long-term weight loss.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea NHLBI Staff

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Idea No. 276