U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Heart Health: Conversation starters

Heart Health: Conversation starters

It can be hard to talk to a family member or friend about making healthy changes. Use these tips to start a conversation about heart-healthy habits like quitting smoking or cutting down on fatty foods.

Begin by saying that you care.

You can say:

  • “I want you to live a long and healthy life.”
  • “I hope you’ll be around for a long time.”
  • “I want to help you make healthy changes so you don’t have to worry about heart disease.”

Share the facts.

Let your loved one know how serious heart disease can be:

  • “Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States.”
  • “Heart disease causes 1 in 4 deaths in the United States – more than all types of cancer combined.”

Say how to prevent heart disease.

Make it clear that taking these steps can improve heart health:

  • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
  • Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • If you choose to drink alcohol, limit your drinking to no more than 1 drink a day for women and no more than 2 drinks a day for men.
  • Eat healthy and get active. Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week.
  • Aim for a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, losing just 10 pounds can lower your risk of heart disease.

Offer to help.

Ask your loved one:

  • “What changes are the hardest for you to make? What can I do to support you?”
  • “How can we get healthy together?”
  • “What can I do to help you?”

Try suggesting these ideas:

  • Go shopping together for healthy foods. Then cook and enjoy a healthy meal.
  • Get active together. A good way to start is to meet every day for a fast walk.
  • Encourage each other to get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked.
  • If your loved one smokes, encourage him to get free help quitting by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).