Gadd, Holly

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Objective: Cardiovascular disease has been the leading cause of death since the early 1920s. As with other chronic diseases, cardiovascular disease is primarily influenced by behaviors and the environment, with poor nutrition being a major contributing factor. Despite knowing the importance of lifestyle modification to manage cardiovascular disease effectively, many individuals have difficulty adhering to lifestyle modification principles. Residential lifestyle modification centers provide the education and support necessary to assist individuals with implementing behavioral changes. This DNP project aimed to demonstrate the value of diet modification implemented at a residential lifestyle center to decrease specific cardiovascular risk factors. Method: Using data collected between November 2021 through December 2022 from adults at least 18 years of age at a residential lifestyle modification center, this retrospective quantitative project considered two clinical questions: 1) What is the relationship between nutritional patterns and selected cholesterol values? and 2) Does the modification of participants’ diet in a residential lifestyle modification program reduce certain cardiovascular risk factors? Intervention: Participants completed surveys that included nutritional information and had lipid levels assessed at the beginning and end of their program and three to four months later. Results: Data were collected from 104 participants enrolled in the lifestyle intervention program. Because this DNP project required complete data for evaluation and comparison, the subsequent sample size was 21 participants. The results indicated that nutrition, as part of a comprehensive lifestyle modification program, was effective in lowering the non-HDL cholesterol and total/HDL cholesterol ratio, 12.6% and 7.5% respectively, at the end of the program. Overall nutrition status, eating patterns, and lipid improvements were not maintained at the three to four-month follow-up. Conclusion: This DNP project contributed to the understanding of the relationship between nutrition and lipid management.

Key Words: Lifestyle modification, residential lifestyle center, cardiovascular disease, lipids, nutrition