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Study shows cholesterol-lowering power of dietitian visits
Date:3/4/2008

nd that an R.D.s advice will pay off in the long run, she says.

To get uniform data, the researchers brought lead R.D.s from each state to U-M for training on the cholesterol and nutrition guidelines, and on the data collection practices used in the study. R.D.s at Veterans Affairs hospitals got their training by phone conferencing. R.D.s then returned to their own practices, trained their colleagues and implemented the ADA guidelines.

The study included only patients between the ages of 25 and 70 years who had high cholesterol levels, or triglyceride levels over 200 mg/dL, and who met other inclusion criteria including no recent changes in their cholesterol medication status. Neither the R.D.s nor their patients were paid to participate in the study.

The real world aspect of this study included the disappointing finding that many patients dropped out of nutrition counseling after one or two visits, when three or four sessions with an R.D. is recommended to make and sustain truly effective changes in eating habits. Lack of insurance coverage was a major factor in this dropout rate.

Patients whose doctors changed their cholesterol medication status, either by starting them on a drug for the first time, or increasing their dose before assessing the effect of diet change, were not included in the analysis. But for the 219 patients who didnt have any change in their medication status, the impact of the R.D. counseling became apparent in the first year after the initial visit.

Although some patients may already be eating a relatively healthy diet, medical nutrition therapy can increase patients knowledge of cardioprotective foods and assist them in individualizing the guidelines to fit their preferences and lifestyle, says Weintraub. A significant number of patients reduced the fat in their diets to less than 30 percent of calories, as recommended for a heart health. Many participants also lost weight and/or increased the
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Contact: Kara Gavin
kegavin@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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