Pam Taub, MD: The Implication of Diet and Socioeconomic Status in CVD Management


Dr. Taub speaks on the technology-based advancements in cardiovascular care and socioeconomic status can affect a patient’s diet and access to care.

This week, The American Society For Preventative Cardiology (ASPC) 2021 Virtual Summit welcomed a diverse group of doctors, health care professionals, and public speakers to introduce new ideas and strategies into the world of preventive cardiology.

In an interview with HCPLive, Dr. Pam Taub, MD, FACC, FASPC, Professor of Medicine

Director of Step Family Cardiovascular Rehabilitation and Wellness Center explained how diet and socioeconomic challenges affect cardiovascular health based on research found in her ASPC presentation “Physical Disabilities- Focus on Risk Assessment, Diet, Accessibility – How To Overcome Unique Challenges”.

Taub noted how there are often misconceptions that patients have regarding what a healthy diet is, and how dietary recommendations are impacted by those misconceptions.

“I think that there's very little evidence-based study data to really drive what our recommendations are,” Taub said. “But this is also an area where the popular media gets involved. And there's a lot of fad diets, the keto diet, the Paleo diet, and everybody has their own twist on what the right diet should be, and so patients get confused.”

With the evidence that is available, Taub recommends dietary options based on 4 broad themes: calories, content, food intake, and how patients eat food.

With these 4 themes, Taub and fellow doctors can determine what patients are consuming, what they should be consuming, how often throughout the day patients are eating food, and the overall methods involved in their diet.

Typically, the plant-based Mediterranean diet is at the core of most healthy diet options and has significant data associated with it. Additionally, Taub urges patients to participate in metabolic rest, a process that involves eating at appropriate times throughout the day and keeps patients from late-night snacking and over/under eating.

Of course, each patient has specific dietary needs that can be related to their lifestyle, comorbidities, and overall health.

Additionally, Taub noted that accessibility plays a large role in cardiovascular health, and how it is often impacted by the socioeconomic status of a patient.

“Accessibility definitely depends on socioeconomic status, and race,” Taub said. “I mean, we know that people from low socioeconomic backgrounds and certain minority groups, like Hispanics, and African Americans have poor access to a lot of these resources. Also women. These 3 groups tend to be low utilizers of cardiac rehabilitation and other resources. It is a major problem in the healthcare system, and there are no easy answers about how we improve access.”

Access is a prominent concern for Taub and fellow doctors in the cardiology field, especially given the advancements in technology and communication within the medical community.

New strategies such as telemedicine, remote cardiac rehabilitation and video-based content delivery have become increasingly popular, especially since the world has been grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic.

While some in-person methods such as visits to community-based organizations such as local churches, community centers, or barber shops have proved useful in communicating with patients from low-income communities, Taub believed that all communities should have access to the advanced virtual care that has become more prominent in recent years.

“If this is a strategy that as a nation we're going to be deploying, then we need to make the accessibility of the Internet a basic, fundamental aspect of any program just like we guarantee water to everyone,” Taub said. “We need to guarantee free internet and some kind of device for connecting with their health care provider to everyone. If we focus on really the low-income communities, we will, I think really make a difference.”

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