Current Nutrition Practice in Cardiac Rehabilitation Programs

J Cardiopulm Rehabil Prev. 2021 Nov 1;41(6):E32-E38. doi: 10.1097/HCR.0000000000000588.


Purpose: This study sought to determine current practice regarding nutrition care within cardiac rehabilitation (CR) programs, including perceived barriers and facilitators to providing nutrition care in this setting.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in October and November 2019. Potential participants were program coordinators, identified through the Australian Cardiovascular Health and Rehabilitation Association program directory and invited to participate via e-mail.

Results: Forty-nine respondents (response rate: 13%) are included in this analysis. Programs provided group (n = 42, 86%) and/or individual (n = 25, 51%) nutrition education, and most were supported by a dietitian (63%). However, the availability of dietitians and nutrition care provided at CR was variable. For example, individual education was consistently provided at 13 programs and usually by health professionals other than dietitians. Eight programs (16%) used a formal behavior change framework for nutrition care. Generally, respondents were positive about the role of nutrition; CR coordinators perceived nutrition as a valuable component of the program, and that they had good nutrition knowledge. An identified barrier was the financial resources available to support the provision of nutrition care.

Conclusions: To ensure that patients receive the benefits of evidence-based nutrition care, program staff may require additional support, particularly regarding the use of evidence-based behavior change techniques. Key facilitators that may be leveraged to achieve this include the high value and priority that CR program coordinators place on nutrition care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans