Internal and emergency medicine

Efficacy of a nutritional education program to improve diet in patients attending a cardiac rehabilitation program: outcomes of a one-year follow-up.

PMID 25724931


Dietary habits are widely reported to play a primary role in the occurrence of coronary artery disease (CAD). Cardiac rehabilitation is a multidisciplinary intervention that includes nutritional education. Proper nutrition plays an important role in cardiovascular health outcomes and in decreasing morbidity and mortality of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) as highlighted in the literature. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of an educational program to improve the diet of cardiac rehabilitation patients compared to usual treatment. 160 patients with CAD, (124 M, 36 F) were randomized into two groups. Data analysis was conducted on 133 patients (11 % dropped out). All enrolled patients attended two educational seminars about proper nutrition and cardiovascular prevention, and completed a questionnaire about dietary habits (before CAD). The Body Mass Index (BMI) was calculated, and basal glycaemia and plasma lipids were assessed at the beginning and at the end of the study (12 months after hospital discharge). The intervention group patients underwent a mid-term evaluation of nutrient intakes, BMI, and received a personalized educational reinforcement by a dietitian. At the end of the study, the intervention group was shown to have significantly reduced their daily caloric intake (reduction of total proteins, total fat, carbohydrate, alcohol), and showed a significant reduction of weight and BMI compared to the control group. Individual nutritional counseling session as a reinforcement of a standard educational program is effective in reducing caloric intake and BMI, which may reduce cardiovascular risk factors in cardiovascular patients.