Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality in the world, and the increasing burden is largely a consequence of modifiable behavioral risk factors that interact with genomics and the environment. Continuous cardiovascular health promotion and disease prevention throughout the lifespan is critical, and the family is a central entity in this process. In this review, we describe the potential rationale and mechanisms that contribute to the importance of family for cardiovascular health promotion, focusing on: 1) mutual interdependence of the family system; 2) shared environment; 3) parenting style; 4) caregiver perceptions; and 5) genomics. We conclude that family-based approaches that target both caregivers and children, encourage communication among the family unit, and address the structural and environmental conditions in which families live and operate are likely to be the most effective approach to promote cardiovascular health. We describe lessons learned, future implications, and applications to ongoing and planned studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1725-1737
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number14
StatePublished - 12 Apr 2016


  • cardiovascular disease
  • children
  • genomics


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