Heart Health Inspiration & Strategies for the Whole Family

Renowned Cardiologist and Ironman Athlete Dr. Lori Mosca Coaches Patients on Preventive Ways to Live Heart-Healthy Lives

Sep 2, 2005


"Dr. Lori Mosca is one of the leading experts in the world in heart disease prevention...Her approach is practical, it's specific, but it's not strict. It's not a task you give yourself to accomplish; it's a gift you give yourself to enjoy."
— Mehmet Oz, M.D., bestselling author of You: The Owner's Manual and Healing from the Heart.

In her new book (Heart to Heart: A Personal Plan for Creating a Heart-Healthy Family, HCI Books), renowned preventive cardiologist and tri-athlete Dr. Lori Mosca offers her prescription and inspiration on how to make healthy lifestyle choices that fit today's busy lifestyles – choices that involve and improve the health of the whole family.

Dr. Mosca – director of preventive cardiology at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, associate professor of medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians Surgeons, and founder and director of the Columbia Center for Heart Disease Prevention – offers the following heart-health strategies to provide the motivation for lifestyle modification:

  • Root causes of coronary vascular disease include psychological factors such as stress, worry, depression, anger, isolation, denial, and anxiety. Make sure you have meaningful relationships with other people, and allow 30 minutes every day of alone time to decompress and heal your heart. Even tasks like cleaning house can be therapeutic, as long as you're focused on the task and not multitasking.
  • Meal planning is the key to eating healthier. Take one day to plan a week's meals with the input of the whole family, grocery shop and prepare four or five entrees in advance. Leave one day for eating out, and one day for eating fish.
  • Like any other muscle, the heart gets stronger with exercise. Instead of watching TV after dinner, go for a half-hour walk with your family. On the weekend, go for a group swim. The family that plays together, stays together.
  • A healthy lifestyle program shouldn't be a chore; to work, it must be fun. It must create better relationships, more fulfilling activities and a better quality of life.

"Home is where the heart is. When we change, it is impossible not to change those around us. And it works in reverse too – it is nearly impossible to maintain positive lifestyle changes if our family is not on board and supportive of our efforts. That's why I emphasize strategies to incorporate the whole family," says Dr. Mosca.

Dr. Mosca is principal investigator of a $2 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) Family Heart Health Study. She is the recipient of American Heart Association and NIH research career awards for heart disease prevention, is president of the American Society of Preventive Cardiology, and she recently served on the American Heart Association (AHA) National Board of Directors. She is a mother of two boys, wife of a pediatric cardiac surgeon, a competitive tri-athlete and a Hawaii Ironman finisher.