News Release

Survey: About two in five Americans haven’t prioritized heart health during the COVID-19 pandemic

Findings by Step One Foods reveal critical need to kick unhealthy heart health habits amid pandemic and beyond

Reports and Proceedings


While cardiovascular disease remains the number one killer of men and women in the U.S., eclipsing COVID-19 by a margin of two to one, a new national survey finds about two in five Americans (41%) haven’t prioritized heart health during the COVID-19 pandemic, including 53% of women ages 45 to 54.

The survey of more than 2,000 US adults, conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Step One Foods, highlights concern about the indirect impact the pandemic will have on cardiovascular disease for years to come, especially when considering an estimated 80 percent of heart disease is preventable when following a healthy lifestyle.

“Unhealthy habits many people developed during the pandemic — like poor diet, alcohol use and lack of physical activity — all increase risk for heart disease,” said Elizabeth Klodas, MD, FACC, founder of Step One Foods. “Heart disease is an epidemic in the U.S. Someone dies of heart disease every 36 seconds, according to the CDC. Nearly one in three Americans have high cholesterol, nearly half have high blood pressure, and three out of four are overweight, which is why it is so important to address these negative habits now.”   

While doctors most commonly prescribe drugs to treat heart disease precursors like high cholesterol and high blood pressure, a poor diet is most often the root cause. As proof, a clinical trial using Step One Foods showed most people can rapidly lower their LDL (bad) cholesterol, simply by making two food swaps each day. No additional dietary changes or daily workouts are needed. 

That’s a solution most Americans would prefer. The survey also found over three-quarters of Americans (76%) would rather treat high cholesterol in a natural way than use medication, while more than half of Americans (58%) don’t believe medication is the best way to improve high cholesterol. 

"As with any medication, statins can come with side effects, which is one of the main reasons there’s such a hunger from people to treat high cholesterol in a natural way,” said Klodas. “I developed Step One to give patients an easy, convenient, proven option to help lower cholesterol by addressing the root cause of their health issues. Given the wrecking ball that COVID-19 has been to our healthy lifestyles, taking even a small step to get back on track couldn’t be more important right now.” 

Step One Foods is a two-dose-per-day eating system with products precisely formulated to help lower LDL cholesterol. All foods are made entirely from real ingredients (such as walnuts, almonds, flax, chia and berries) known to positively impact cholesterol profiles. Every serving contains the precise amounts of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, plant sterols and antioxidants extensively documented to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and cardiovascular health. In a randomized, controlled clinical trial, the foods were demonstrated to reduce LDL cholesterol by an average of 9% in 30 days, with some individuals experiencing nearly 40% LDL cholesterol reductions, without other dietary or lifestyle changes. 


Survey Method:
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Step One Foods between September 7-9, 2021 among 2,062 US adults ages 18+. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Molly Devaney at or Bill Alldredge at

About Step One Foods
Step One Foods is a simple, non-pharmaceutical food-based option designed to help lower cholesterol without requiring unrealistic diets or daily workouts. Step One Foods was founded by cardiologist Elizabeth Klodas, who has dedicated her career to helping her patients reduce their dependence on medications for conditions that could be solved by changing diet.  

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