Abstract 14344: Be Heart Smart: A Statewide Prevention Program Delivered by Land-Grant Extension Educators
Introduction: Cardiovascular disease continues to be the leading cause of death. One-third of adults in Indiana have high blood pressure, nearly 40% have high cholesterol, and 66% are overweight or obese. Education about heart health is needed to make lifestyle changes to reduce the risk for heart disease. Time constraints in clinical settings are a barrier to providing education. The Cooperative Extension System housed at land-grant universities are a viable option to deliver preventative education statewide.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to develop, implement, and evaluate the impact of a heart disease prevention program by 1) examining changes in heart health knowledge of risk factors before and after four 60 minute face-to-face lessons taught by an Extension Educator, and 2) examining participants’ intentions to make lifestyle behavior changes based upon information learned (monitoring controllable risk factors, incorporating the DASH diet, physical activity and practicing stress reduction).
Methods: Be Heart Smart was jointly developed by Extension Educators and the School of Nursing. Topics include heart disease risk factors, cholesterol and blood pressure guidelines, the DASH diet, and stress reduction techniques. Content validity was established for an investigator developed 10 item pretest and 14 item posttest addressing key topics in each lesson. The posttest’s 4 additional items addressed intention to change behavior related to eating habits, exercise, stress, and controllable risk factors. The program was held in county Extension offices, local minority coalition offices or other locations.
Results: Extension Educators delivered Be Heart Smart in 43 of 92 counties over 1 year, and 272 participants completed the pretest and/or posttest. Demographics: 86.8% female, 69.3% over 61 years, 90.7% white, and 7.8% black. Heart health risk factor knowledge improved among participants in 8 of 10 heart health questions (p=0.000 to p= 0.006) and 84.6-95.8% indicated intention to make lifestyle changes.
Conclusions: Delivery of heart health education by Extension Educators in community settings is a feasible and effective way to deliver content. Limitations include the homogeneity of the participants in gender, race, and age.
Author Disclosures: K.S. Yehle: None. S.G. Woodcox: None.
- © 2016 by American Heart Association, Inc.