Changing Lifestyles and Heart Health

Changing Lifestyles and Heart Health "Heart anterior exterior view" by Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Heart_anterior_exterior_view.jp


The human diet has changed a great deal since the Paleolithic era when it is believed that our ancestors were hunter-gatherers and relied mostly on fruits, vegetables, and meat for food. Since that era, humans in general have become more sedentary and consume more grains and milk, in addition to the fruits, vegetables, and meat. You can use the resources found here to help you examine the history of human diet and trends in care of the heart, comparing it with today's eating habits and lifestyles, many of which may not be good for human health.


Visit the following websites. As you read the articles, think about the questions below each resource. Take notes to help you discuss these questions with your class.

Heart History

  • Why was heart disease almost nonexistent prior to the 20th century? Explain.
  • How has medical science helped to address this key health problem?
  • Name an automated product that you use regularly. What would you do if you didn’t have this? How might that affect your health?
  • What more do you think should be done about heart disease?

The New Cholesterol

  • Why are researchers interested in investigating the unproven risk factors that may lead to heart disease?
  • What are some of these factors? What are they thought to do?
  • What do scientists believe to be the key in lowering homocysteine levels in the blood?
  • What is atherosclerosis?
  • How do today's doctors treat people at risk for heart disease?
  • Why are more studies needed?
  • What kinds of science and technology are currently being used to investigate, monitor, and prevent heart disease?

Paleolithic Nutrition: Your Future Is In Your Dietary Past

  • What are some of the differences between the way human beings ate and lived in the Paleolithic era as compared to today?
  • What were the main causes in this change in diet and lifestyle?
  • What is the problem with modern diets in terms of genetics?
  • What is considered to be the Paleolithic diet?
  • How does the modern diet compare? How does yours compare?
  • Does reading these findings make you want to change your own diet? Do you think these changes can last long-term? Why or why not?

Knowledge Check

Answer these questions on the Assessment Sheet your teacher has provided.

  • Beyond finding medical answers, what do you think should be done about the deadly, ongoing heart disease epidemic?
  • How are science and technology being used to investigate, monitor, and prevent heart disease?
  • Overall, do you think the Industrial Revolution has made the physical health of people better or worse? Support your answer.

This esheet is a part of the Heart 2: Changing Lifestyles and Heart Health lesson.

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