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Benefits for Women With Women-Only Cardiac Rehab

Improvements in women's health behaviors and psychosocial well-being versus mixed-sex rehab

woman gets physical exam

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 3, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Women-only cardiac rehabilitation (CR) programs may confer behavioral and psychosocial advantages for women, according to a study published online Feb. 2 in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

Liz Midence, from York University in Toronto, and colleagues examined whether participation in women-only CR results in better outcomes than other models. Low-risk cardiac patients were recruited and surveyed regarding their health behaviors and psychosocial well-being. One hundred sixty-nine eligible participants were randomly allocated to mixed-sex, women-only, or home-based CR; 116 patients were retained.

The researchers found that women in mixed-sex and women-only CR groups had increased self-reported physical activity (per protocol and as treated, P < 0.05), and improvement in quality of life (per protocol and as treated, P < 0.05). Women in the women-only CR group had improvement in diet (as treated, P < 0.05). Compared with women in the women-only CR group, women in the mixed-sex CR group had higher anxiety symptoms (per protocol, P = 0.017) and higher depressive symptoms (as treated, P = 0.001). After adjustment for confounding variables there were no significant differences in any outcome by model.

"Behavioral and psychosocial outcomes were largely equivalent regardless of model; however, women-only programs may confer an advantage for anxiety and depressive symptoms," the authors write.

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