Effect of sustaining lifestyle modifications (nonsmoking, weight reduction, physical activity, and Mediterranean diet) after healing of myocardial infarction, percutaneous intervention, or coronary bypass (from the reasons for geographic and racial differences in stroke study)
Guidelines recommend lifestyle modification for patients with coronary heart disease (CHD). Few data demonstrate which lifestyle modifications, if sustained, reduce recurrent CHD and mortality risk in cardiac patients after the postacute rehabilitation phase. We determined the association between ideal lifestyle factors and recurrent CHD and all-cause mortality in REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke study participants with CHD (n = 4,174). Ideal lifestyle factors (physical activity ≥4 times/week, nonsmoking, highest quartile of Mediterranean diet score, and waist circumference <88 cm for women and <102 cm for men) were assessed through questionnaires and an in-home study visit. There were 447 recurrent CHD events and 745 deaths over a median 4.3 and 4.5 years, respectively. After multivariable adjustment, physical activity ≥4 versus no times/week and non-smoking versus current smoking were associated with reduced hazard ratios (HRs; 95% confidence interval [CI]) for recurrent CHD (HR 0.69, 95% CI 0.54 to 0.89 and HR 0.50, 95% CI 0.39 to 0.64, respectively) and death (HR 0.71, 95% CI 0.59 to 0.86 and HR 0.53, 95% CI 0.44 to 0.65, respectively). The multivariable-adjusted HRs (and 95% CIs) for recurrent CHD and death comparing the highest versus lowest quartile of Mediterranean diet adherence were 0.77 (95% CI 0.55 to 1.06) and 0.84 (95% CI 0.67 to 1.07), respectively. Neither outcome was associated with waist circumference. Comparing participants with 1, 2, and 3 versus 0 ideal lifestyle factors (non-smoking, physical activity ≥4 times/week, and highest quartile of Mediterranean diet score), the HRs (and 95% CIs) were 0.60 (95% CI 0.44 to 0.81), 0.49 (95% CI 0.36 to 0.67), and 0.38 (95% CI 0.21 to 0.67), respectively, for recurrent CHD and 0.65 (95% CI 0.51 to 0.83), 0.57 (95% CI 0.43 to 0.74), and 0.41 (95% CI 0.26 to 0.64), respectively, for death. In conclusion, maintaining smoking cessation, physical activity, and Mediterranean diet adherence is important for secondary CHD prevention.