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HF patients in France still encouraged to enjoy their food -- even if it's not as salty as before

The individualised management programme of France's "Rseau Respecti-coeur" makes quality of life the first objective for heart failure patients, and one of the network's dieticians, Mme Hlne Guibert, explained that the heart-healthy eating recommended in the programme need not be a source of frustration or misery even for a Frenchman. "For many old people," she told Heart Failure Congress 2009, "meals are important occasions, and it's our aim to bring together at these times health and pleasure."1,2

Patient and family education for a heart-healthy diet as well as prompt recognition of symptoms and psychological support forms part of the Rseau's heart failure management approach, and begins with advice to restrict salt intake to five or six grams per day, an amount recommended in heart failure, said Mme Guibert.

"Our dietetic management starts with a shopping list which allows our patients to assess their salt and calorific consumption," she explained. "They can then adapt their health objectives to their own tastes and eating habits. In this we way we can reach agreed objectives which are simple, achievable and measurable" and which take account of their completer health status. This is why our management approach is first personalised, and then collective."

It's for the same reasons that the Rseau organises interactive cooking demonstrations, with each one following a clear theme mixed salads, vegetables, special occasion meals, sauces . . . "There's a time for tasting and enjoying the food at each event," said Mme Guibert, "and afterwards each participant goes home with a recipe of the day. The demonstrations also allow our patients to exchange ideas and discover new tastes and culinary skills." A DVD provides supporting information.

It's in ways like this, said Mme Guibert, that "la ditetique" can be paradoxical because, even in France, a judicious diet which is part of a heart failure management programme can still be enjoyable. "There's no risk-taking, no frustration, and the pleasure of eating is retained."


Contact: ESC Press Office
European Society of Cardiology

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