Adults who start blood pressure- or lipid-lowering therapy may use these medications as substitutes for healthy lifestyle changes, according to a study in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Researchers studied over 41,000 Finnish adults aged 40 and older (84% women) who were free of cardiovascular disease at baseline. Participants completed multiple lifestyle questionnaires from 2000 through 2013, and pharmacy records were examined to identify the start of antihypertensive or statin therapy.
After multivariable adjustment, participants who began either treatment during the study were significantly more likely than those who did not to become obese. They were also more likely to become inactive. One unhealthy behaviour did decline among those who started these medications — cigarette smoking.
The researchers call for more effective strategies to encourage lifestyle changes in patients beginning preventive medications. They cite U.S. guidelines, which recommend cognitive-behavioural methods, multidisciplinary approaches, and consideration of the individual's social determinants of health.