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Changes in diet, exercise, and stress management to changes in managing coronary risk.

25 Jan

Researchers from the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California find that changes in dietary fat intake, exercise, and stress management in 869 nonsmoking coronary heart disease patients result in significant improvement in coronary risk.

Researchers from the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California evaluated the interactive effects of 2 months worth of changes in health behaviors (dietary fat intake, exercise, and stress management) on changes in coronary risk among 869 nonsmoking coronary heart disease patients (34% female) enrolled in the health insurance-based Multisite Cardiac Lifestyle Intervention Program.

Measurements were taken to analyze health behaviors, coronary risk factors, and psychosocial factors at baseline and at 3 months. Multiple regression analyses evaluated changes in dietary fat intake and hours per week of exercise and stress management as predictors of changes in coronary risk.

There was significant overall improvement in coronary risk. Reductions in dietary fat intake predicted reductions in weight, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and interacted with increased exercise to predict reductions in perceived stress.

Increases in exercise predicted improvements in total cholesterol and exercise capacity (for women). Increased stress management was related to reductions in weight, total cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (for men), triglycerides, hemoglobin A1c (in patients with diabetes), and hostility (a strong predictor of heart attacks).

Improvements in dietary fat intake, exercise, and stress management were individually, additively and interactively related to coronary risk and to psychosocial factors, suggesting that multicomponent programs focusing on diet, exercise, and stress management can benefit patients with coronary heart disease.

Citation: Daubenmier JJ, Weidner G, Sumner MD, Mendell N, Merritt-Worden T, Studley J, Ornish D. The contribution of changes in diet, exercise, and stress management to changes in coronary risk in women and men in the multisite cardiac lifestyle intervention program. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 2007 Feb;33 (1): pages 57-68.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award