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Improvement in medical risk factors and quality of life in women and men with coronary artery disease in the Multicenter Lifestyle Demonstration Project

      Abstract

      This study examined medical and psychosocial characteristics of 440 patients (mean age 58 years, 21% women) with coronary artery disease at baseline and at 3-month and 12-month follow-ups. All patients were participants in the Multicenter Lifestyle Demonstration Project, aimed at improving diet (low fat, whole foods, plant-based), exercise, stress management, and social support. Spousal participation was encouraged. Both genders evidenced significant improvements in their diet, exercise, and stress management practices, which they maintained over the course of the study. Both women and men also showed significant medical (e.g., plasma lipids, blood pressure, body weight, exercise capacity) and psychosocial (e.g., quality of life) improvement. Despite their worse medical, psychosocial, and sociodemographic status at baseline, women’s improvement was similar to that of men’s. These results demonstrate that a multi-component lifestyle change program focusing on diet, exercise, stress management, and social support can be successfully implemented at hospitals in diverse regions of the United States. Furthermore, this program may be particularly beneficial for women with coronary artery disease who generally have higher mortality and morbidity than men after a heart attack, angioplasty, or bypass surgery.
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