Šárka Kunzová among the winners for the best abstract

The American Heart Association (AHA) has awarded the best abstract award to a team including Šárka Kunzová, MD, PhD, researcher and physician from the Kardiovize team of the International Clinical Research Centre of St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno. The Paul Dudley White International Scholar Award, as the full title of this prestigious award reads, was presented to the researchers at the AHA Scientific Sessions 2021 conference for their abstract, Validation of a Brief Dietary Questionnaire for Use in Clinical Practice: Mini-EAT™.

“Under the guidance of Professor Lopez, we set out to create a validated questionnaire for rapid nutrition assessment in clinical practice,” described Dr. Kunzová. Healthy nutrition is one of the pillars of treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease. Currently, the gold standard for nutrition assessment at the Mayo Clinic is the so-called VioScreenᵀᴹ, a complex and time-consuming questionnaire that provides a detailed assessment of the extent to which a patient’s dietary habits meet professional recommendations.

A 19-item questionnaire was designed in collaboration with nutritional therapists and other colleagues. In a study with more than 600 participants, this questionnaire was then compared with the VioScreenᵀᴹ questionnaire. “Although it sounds simple, it was quite difficult to include all the major components of nutrition while formulating the questions in a way that was understandable to the respondent,” Dr. Kunzová said. As part of the validation study, the questionnaire was further reduced to maintain its good reporting value.

The questionnaire in its current form cannot be used globally and was designed for the US population to correspond with local dietary specifics, usual eating patterns and food supply. Healthy eating recommendations there are based on the Healthy Eating Index, which quantifies the extent to which an individual’s eating patterns are consistent with the recommendations. “In our country, we have defined general dietary recommendations, but there is no standardised questionnaire that can capture this,” Dr Kunzová said.

A manuscript of a peer-reviewed article detailing a validation study of the Mini-EAT™ questionnaire, a tool for rapid assessment of dietary habits that could help in routine outpatient settings, for example in patients with cardiovascular disease, to easily determine the extent to which consultation with a nutritional therapist is indicated, is currently being completed.