Patients with heart failure (HF) and their family caregivers usually consume similar diets, but there is a lack of evidence about diet quality of patients with HF and their family caregivers.
The specific aim of this study was to compare diet quality of patients with HF with that of their family caregivers.
In this cross-sectional study, 40 patients with HF and their 40 family caregivers completed a VioScreen Food Frequency Questionnaire from which Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI) diet quality scores (consisting of the total HEI score and 12 component scores) were calculated.
None of the 40 patient-caregiver dyads had a high diet quality score (ie, total HEI > 80), whereas 21% of participants had poor diet scores (ie, total HEI ≤ 50). There were no differences in total HEI scores (58.5 vs 59.4, P = .58) or the 12 component scores of the HEI within dyad members. Mean scores of 6 of the 12 components (ie, total fruit, greens and beans, total protein foods, seafood and plant proteins, fatty acids, empty calories) for both members of the HF dyad were lower than the national average. Interestingly, scores for the sodium component were similarly low in patients and caregivers (4.1 vs 3.4, P = .24), indicating high sodium intake.
Both patients and caregivers consume poor-quality diets that are high in sodium. These findings suggest that nutrition interventions to improve diet quality for patients with HF need to be targeted at the family as a unit.