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UMass Medical School study finds patients diagnosed with coronary heart disease continue poor diets
Date:1/30/2008

WORCESTER, Mass.More than 13 million Americans have survived a heart attack or have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease (CHD), the number one cause of death in the United States. In addition to medications, lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet and exercise, are known to reduce the risk for subsequent cardiac events. Despite this evidence, a high proportion of heart attack survivors do not follow their doctors advice to adhere to a healthy diet, according to researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS).

Many studies have centered on determining dietary risk factors for developing CHD, but few investigations have studied the diets of CHD patients following diagnosis. In Dietary Quality 1 Year after Diagnosis of Coronary Heart Disease, published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, researchers measured the diet quality of 555 CHD patients one year after a diagnostic coronary angiography. Using the Alternative Health Eating Index (AHEI) to assess diet quality, they found that a high proportion of those patients had not made the necessary improvements to their diets to help reduce the risk of a secondary CHD event. Proven to be a strong predictor of CHD, the AHEI is a measure that isolates dietary components that are most strongly linked to CHD risk reduction.

This study found that CHD patients diets had not improved in the year after being diagnosed, said Yunsheng Ma, MD, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine and one of the studys lead authors. We know that a healthy diet is one of the most important components of a healthy lifestyle, especially for patients following a cardiac event, and yet patients are not acting on this knowledge.

To determine the quality of CHD patients diets, Dr. Ma and colleagues collected data from a 24-hour dietary recall one year after the participants CHD diagnoses. The dietary recall is an assessment tool administered by a dietiti
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Contact: Nicole Soucy
nicole.soucy@umassmed.edu
508-856-2000
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Source:Eurekalert

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