Online Program

Healthy Hearts Family Intervention: To disrupt patterns of cardiovascular disease in low-income families in northern Colorado

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Gary Luckasen, MD, Department of Research at the Medical Center of the Rockies, University of Colorado Health- Medical Center of the Rockies, Loveland, CO
NaNet Puccetti, MPH/MHSA, Research, University of Colorado Health, Loveland, CO
Tracy Nelson, MPH, PhD, Department of Health and Exercise Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
As obesity rates nationally and locally continue to rise, there is building evidence that educating a family together increases their success for risk factor reduction. For 23 years, Healthy Hearts in Northern Colorado has provided a successful heart health education and screening program to 4th/5th grade students. In 2012-13, 835 4th/5th grade students were screened with 23% having borderline or high total cholesterol (>170 mg/dL) and 22.5% being overweight or obese. Families of children identified to have at least one risk factor for heart disease were invited to participate in the 6 week family intervention to determine if an intergenerational education program could interrupt patterns of cardiovascular disease through increased comprehension of risk factors; improved heart healthy lifestyle behaviors; physical activity and improvements in BMI, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Seventy-five families with 274 participants (~80% white, 37% low income) enrolled in the program with 45% of the children (9-18 years) and 85% of adults (mean age ~41) being overweight or obese and 73% of the families having 3 or more risk factors. At the 6 month mark, positive improvements in healthy lifestyle habits and biometrics included 95% of participants reporting increased knowledge, 42% of the families reduced their BMI (total of 588 pounds lost), 65% reduced triglyceride levels, 67% increased HDL cholesterol, 69% increased physical activity, 61% limited fast food intake, and 69% increased fruit and vegetable consumption. Our results suggest educating a family together can not only reduce a child’s risk for heart disease but also the families.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Identify the key components of developing a family based intervention. Discuss the effectiveness of an inter-generational program to reduce risk factors for heart disease, while considering the role of a school based education and screening program to identify children at risk.

Keyword(s): Heart Disease, Family Involvement

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a sub or co-investigator, lead researcher, and program coordinator on several federally and state funded grants (Cholesterol lowering study in children, Impact study, Family Intervention, and Healthy Hearts data study) as well as am published as a coauthor of multiple cardiovascular articles. I have a special interest in developing meaningful community/academic relationships in order to reduce cardiovascular disease through primordial prevention and education in our local community.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.