Nutrition knowledge of cardiac patients and their use of nutrition fact labels
Worden, Jo Lynn Sazama
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The purpose of this study was to determine nutrition knowledge of cardiac patients and whether they could adequately use nutrition fact labels found on grocery products. It has been thought that cardiac patients may have a better understanding of heart healthy nutrition due to the efforts of health educators and the patients’ participation in cardiac rehabilitation programs. Subjects from cardiology practices and cardiac rehabilitation programs completed a survey to evaluate label reading ability and nutrition knowledge based on source of nutrition education. Attitudes of the patients toward diet in treatment and prevention of heart disease were assessed as well as the number of subjects who received educational information from a Registered Dietitian (RD). Eighty-three percent of female subjects and 85% of male subjects reported that they usually read the nutrition fact labels on food items. The subjects also acknowledged that diet was “extremely important” in the prevention and treatment of heart disease and that they usually checked labels for fat (89%) and sodium (82%) content. Mean score for the nutrition fact label reading section was 3.39 ± 0.86 out of a possible 4.0. There was no statistical difference between subjects who had been instructed by an RD or attended cardiac rehabilitation programs and those who had not. Mean score for the nutrition knowledge section was 11.00 ± 2.07 with no statistical significance between groups who had been instructed by an RD, attended cardiac rehabilitation programs or had experienced a cardiac event and those who had not. Gender and attitude toward the role of diet did not show statistical significance. It was concluded that this population used nutrition fact labels while choosing foods regardless of their sex or whether they had experienced a cardiac event. Their nutrition knowledge and ability to use the nutrition fact labels was not dependent upon source of nutrition education nor on their attitude toward diet in the prevention and treatment of heart disease.