Diet is an essential strategy for the prevention of primary and secondary cardiovascular disease (CVD) events. The objectives were to examine: how families at increased risk of CVD perceived personal risk, their motivations to make dietary changes, their understanding of diet, and the influence of other family members. Individuals (>18 years) who completed an Australian family-based CVD risk reduction program were invited to a semi-structured telephone interview. Responses were recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using a systematic deductive approach with coding derived from key concepts developed as part of the interview structure. Seventeen participants from eight families were interviewed (aged 18–70 years, 47% male, five with CVD diagnosis). Key themes indicated both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations to improve heart health, variations in risk perception, recognition of the role diet plays in heart health, and the extent of family influences on eating patterns. Discrepancies between perceived and actual CVD risk perception impacted on perceived “need” to modify current dietary patterns towards heart health recommendations. Therefore, strategies not reliant on risk perception are needed to engage those with low risk perception. This could involve identifying and accessing the family “ringleader” to influence involvement and capitalising on personal accountability to other family members.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited