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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Dietary pattern changes after cardiac events McKinley, Kimberly


A strong link has been made between dietary content and cardiac disease risk. Diets high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and poultry and lower in red meat have been shown to lower cardiac disease risk in both women and men. National diet guidelines, such as the Canada’s Food Guide (CFG), provide information on basic healthful eating. The CFG, however, lacks the details that are recommended in several cardiac disease-specific diets. The Alternate Health Eating Index (AHEI) is a scoring index that accounts for specific dietary factors such as types of fat, forms of carbohydrates and specific protein sources. High levels of adherence to the AHEI are associated with significantly lower cardiovascular disease risk in both men and women. This study evaluated dietary pattern for cardiac participants over a 16 month period; AHEI score and CFG adherence were measured, AHEI trends over time were examined and differences in AHEI scores based on sex, education level and income were examined. There was moderate correlation between the AHEI and CFG scores (r= 0.73, p=0.001). There were no significant changes over time for either food score and no sex differences noted. Participants with an education level greater than high school had significantly higher AHEI scores at baseline. Intake of fruits and vegetables did not meet recommended amounts at any time, though fibre intake well exceeded the recommendations for both men and women. Future evaluation of patients who receive formal cardiac rehabilitation may improve understanding of how the AHEI can be used as a tool for dietary evaluation in cardiac patients.

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