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Pediatr Nurs. 2002 May-Jun;28(3):223-9, 235.

A school-based intervention to teach third grade children about the prevention of heart disease.

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Ohio State University College of Nursing, Columbus, OH, USA.


Coronary heart disease continues to be a leading cause of death in adults. Because many risk factors for heart disease make their first appearance in childhood, early intervention is an attractive strategy for this disease. A convenience sample of 58 third grade children participated in a year-long, quasi-experimental study to compare a school-based educational program, HeartPower!, to the standard health education curriculum. Variables examined included knowledge, hypercholesterolemia, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, hypertension, exposure to cigarette smoke, and parental participation. The students who participated in the HeartPower! Program showed improvement (p < 0.05) in their knowledge of healthy lifestyles. Modest improvements in hypertension and exposure to tobacco smoke were observed. These results indicate that focused instruction on important health issues may be preferable to a broad approach.

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