Background: We evaluated the effectiveness of a low-cost group visit intervention for changing the dietary intake and lipid levels of patients with known coronary artery disease (CAD).
Methods: We performed a controlled random group assignment trial in 4 community outpatient clinics. The Dietary Intervention and Evaluation Trial randomized 97 patients with CAD to either a control group that followed the National Cholesterol Education Program's Step II-III diet plan (n=48) or an experimental group that received meal plans, recipes, and nutritional information during monthly group office sessions (n=49). Both groups received lipid-lowering medications and were followed-up over 12 months. We assessed dietary intake, fasting lipid profiles, hemoglobin A1C levels, and per member per month (PMPM) expense data.
Results: Food frequency data showed that eating fruits and vegetables and cooking with monounsaturated fat increased significantly in the experimental group compared with the control group at 1 year (P=.0072; P=.0001; P=.0004). The total PMPM expenses decreased for both groups (38% for the experimental group and 10% for the control group), but the cost difference was statistically nonsignificant (P=.2975). Both groups noted low-density lipoprotein reductions, significant only in the experimental group (P=.0035).
Conclusions: Our study suggests that using group office visits for patients with CAD was an effective method for helping subjects make dietary changes and for improving lipid levels. Patients with known CAD and elevated lipid levels were willing to make significant lifestyle changes when offered a program that emphasizes healthy foods in a group visit format.