Skip to main content

The Med-South Lifestyle Program (MSLP) is the culmination of a number of lifestyle interventions developed and tested by researchers at the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP). The MSLP format has been widely tested in a variety of clinical and community settings in NC for over two decades and adopted by many state and local health departments and cardiac rehab programs across the country. Researchers continue to update the program in accordance with the scientific literature on healthy eating, physical activity, and health outcomes.

Timeline of the Med-South Lifestyle Program. Text is below.

1993–1998: Food for Heart Program & Southeast Cholesterol Project

The Food for Heart Program was developed to facilitate dietary counseling by primary care physicians and public health nurses. The intervention included a validated dietary risk assessment, a structured dietary program with practical behavior change recommendations culturally specific for a southern patient population, and a system for physician monitoring and reinforcement to patients.

The Southeast Cholesterol Project was designed to facilitate the lowering of high cholesterol in patients by primary care physicians working in community and rural health centers in NC and Virginia. The intervention included a structured assessment and delivery of the Food for Heart Program by trained physicians.

1995–2001: A New Leaf…Choices for Healthy Living

A New Leaf…Choices for Healthy Living was developed to help African American women with low-income manage type 2 diabetes through diet, physical activity, and diabetes care. The intervention included 4 clinic-based health counselor visits, a community intervention with 12 monthly phone calls from peer counselors, and 3 group sessions. A New Leaf has been delivered and tested in multiple health departments throughout NC, with a component added in later years that included community resource linkages that addressed community and environmental factors that may influence healthy lifestyle choices.

1995–2008: WISEWOMAN

In collaboration with the NC Division of Public Health, several research studies were conducted to test the effectiveness of A New Leaf…Choices for Healthy Living among WISEWOMAN participants. WISEWOMAN (Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation in Women Across the Nation) is designed to help women ages 40-64 years with low-income reduce their risk of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases. WISEWOMAN includes risk factor screenings, medical referrals, and lifestyle intervention programs that promote healthy eating, increased physical activity, and smoking cessation.

2010–2013: Heart to Health

Heart to Health was designed for men and women age 35-79 years who were at high risk of cardiovascular events. Heart to Health combined two previously-tested and effective lifestyle and medication interventions (one web-based and one counselor-based) to reduce cardiovascular disease risk and was tested in a diverse group of patients cared for at family practices in NC.

2010–2016: Heart-Healthy Lenoir

Heart-Healthy Lenoir was designed to reduce cardiovascular disease risk and promote weight loss for residents in a rural eastern NC county and was a part of the larger efforts of the Centers for Population Health and Health Disparities. The project included an individually tailored intervention promoting a Mediterranean-style dietary pattern and increased walking, weekly group sessions, and phone calls.

2014–2019: Carolina Heart Alliance Networking for Greater Equity (CHANGE)

Carolina Heart Alliance Networking for Greater Equity (CHANGE) was developed to reduce cardiovascular disease risk and link rural NC adults who are underserved to clinical and community services. CHANGE included an evidence-based behavioral lifestyle intervention delivered by community health workers.


The following projects completed by researchers at HPDP used a similar dietary pattern as that used in the MSLP:

Weight-Wise was designed for midlife women with low-income enrolled in the WISEWOMAN program and was developed to test the effectiveness of weight control intervention strategies. Weight-Wise was implemented through community partnerships and included a 16-week weight loss phase of weekly group sessions and a 12-month weight maintenance phase of individual, group, and phone contacts.

The PArtners in Lifestyle Support (PALS) project was designed for African American adults with overweight/obesity and type 2 diabetes and included an evaluation of a randomized controlled trial. PALS included a 20-week family based diabetes self-management intervention that paired an adult with type 2 diabetes with a family member who does not have diabetes; together the pair works toward weight loss and a healthier lifestyle.