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Healthy diet hard to maintain after heart attack

Written by: Staff

NEW YORK, May 6 (Reuters) Most people who undergo rehabilitation following an acute coronary event such as a heart attack are initially highly adherent to dietary recommendations. In the long-term, however, many patients return to their older, poorer eating habits, German researchers report in the journal Heart.

Dr Hermann Brenner of The German Center for Research on Aging in Heidelberg and colleagues note that most patients appear willing to make dietary changes after they have a heart attack, but information on long-term adherence is lacking.

To investigate further, the researchers followed more than 1,200 patients who underwent 3 weeks of in-patient rehabilitation after an episode of acute coronary syndrome or coronary artery revascularization procedure such as balloon angioplasty.

Self-reports showed that after rehabilitation, the proportion of patients whose diet was categorized as good rose from 30 per cent to 91 per cent.

However, by 1 year this fell to 49 percent, and by 3 years the proportion dropped to 42 per cent. Nevertheless, the investigators point out that the avoidance of ''unfavorable food items such as French fries or eggs, was at least partly maintained.'' The team concludes that further research is needed ''to improve maintenance of dietary changes, for example, by involvement of spouses or reinforced advice.'' REUTERS DKS HT0915

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