Healthy lifestyle changes favourably affect common carotid intima-media thickness

the Healthy Lifestyle Community Programme (cohort 2)

authored by
Christian Koeder, Sarah Husain, Ragna Marie Kranz, Corinna Anand, Dima Alzughayyar, Nora Schoch, Andreas Hahn, Heike Englert

Common carotid intima-media thickness (ccIMT) progression is a risk marker for cardiovascular disease (CVD), whereas healthy lifestyle habits are associated with lower ccIMT. The objective of the present study was to test whether a healthy lifestyle intervention can beneficially affect ccIMT progression. A community-based non-randomised, controlled lifestyle intervention was conducted, focusing on a predominantly plant-based diet (strongest emphasis), physical activity, stress management and social health. Assessments of ccIMT were made at baseline, 6 months and 1 year. Participants had an average age of 57 years and were recruited from the general population in rural northwest Germany (intervention: n 114; control: n 87). From baseline to 1 year, mean ccIMT significantly increased in both the intervention (0.026 [95 % CI 0.012, 0.039] mm) and control group (0.045 [95 % CI 0.033, 0.056] mm). The 1-year trajectory of mean ccIMT was lower in the intervention group (P = 0.022; adjusted for baseline). In a subgroup analysis with participants with high baseline mean ccIMT (≥0.800 mm), mean ccIMT non-significantly decreased in the intervention group (-0.016 [95 % CI -0.050, 0.017] mm; n 18) and significantly increased in the control group (0.065 [95 % CI 0.033, 0.096] mm; n 12). In the subgroup, the 1-year trajectory of mean ccIMT was significantly lower in the intervention group (between-group difference: -0.051 [95 % CI -0.075, -0.027] mm; P < 0.001; adjusted for baseline). The results indicate that healthy lifestyle changes may beneficially affect ccIMT within 1 year, particularly if baseline ccIMT is high.

Institute of Food Science and Human Nutrition
Nutrition Physiology and Human Nutrition Section
External Organisation(s)
Münster University of Applied Sciences
Journal of Nutritional Science
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Food Science, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Nutrition and Dietetics
Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
Electronic version(s) (Access: Open)