Background: The relative contribution of health behaviors to coronary risk factors in multicomponent secondary coronary heart disease (CHD) prevention programs is largely unknown.
Purpose: Our purpose is to evaluate the additive and interactive effects of 3-month changes in health behaviors (dietary fat intake, exercise, and stress management) on 3-month changes in coronary risk and psychosocial factors among 869 nonsmoking CHD patients (34% female) enrolled in the health insurance-based Multisite Cardiac Lifestyle Intervention Program.
Methods: Analyses of variance for repeated measures were used to analyze health behaviors, coronary risk factors, and psychosocial factors at baseline and 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 and psychosocial factors.
Results: Significant overall improvement in coronary risk was observed. 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.
Conclusions: Improvements in dietary fat intake, exercise, and stress management were individually, additively and interactively related to coronary risk and psychosocial factors, suggesting that multicomponent programs focusing on diet, exercise, and stress management may benefit patients with CHD.