Studies show health education in schools leads to cardiovascular disease risk reduction in children

Childhood behaviors have a significant impact on lifetime risk for heart disease

CHICAGO, Ill. – Information released at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session on Sunday from the University of Michigan Systems indicates that children understand the impact of healthy behaviors and habits. 

A recent study by Project Healthy Schools, a community-University of Michigan System collaboration, measured risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as lipid profile, physical activity, and cholesterol, in middle school students before and after curriculum about healthy behaviors. The study found that after the curriculum students displayed positive healthy behaviors that made an impact on improving lipid profiles, cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides, proving that children can learn, understand and implement healthy behaviors for cardiovascular risk reduction.

The implementation of risk reduction strategies at an early age is crucial to the prevention of cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke as an adult. The Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association (PCNA) focuses on the prevention of cardiovascular disease across the lifespan - childhood behaviors have a significant impact on lifetime risk for heart disease.

“In today's fast paced world where children are developing risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, this is an important study showing positive outcomes after health education. When wellness, healthy behavior and prevention education is brought into schools there can be a tremendous impact on heart disease prevention later in life,” says Cindy Lamendola, MSN, ANP-BC, FAHA, FPCNA, Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Research Nurse Coordinator at Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Cardiology in Stanford, California and member of the PCNA Board of Directors. "This study also indicates that health care providers need to partner with the community to make a difference on heart disease in their areas”

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MEDICAL EXPERT - CINDY LAMENDOLA, MSN, ANP-CP-BC, FAHA, FPCNACindy Lamendola, MSN, ANP-BC, FAHA, FPCNA is a Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Research Nurse Coordinator at Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Cardiology in Stanford, California. She received her MSN, from the University of California in San Francisco in 1997. In her current position Lamendola’s time is divided between clinical research and clinical practice. Her clinical research focus is on insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and the relationship to cardiovascular disease. Her clinical practice is focused on caring for complex patients with type 2 diabetes. Lamendola has been involved in cardiovascular nursing and primary and secondary prevention most of her career. Previously she was an associate director/director of a large community cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation program with a focus on risk factor education, lipid management and research. She also developed and managed a lipid clinic in a cardiovascular medical practice. Lamendola is a founding member, past president and current board member of the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association. She is also a member and fellow of the American Heart Association Council on Cardiovascular Nursing Council and participated in the American Heart Association Prevention Conference VI: Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease Writing Group IV: Lifestyle and Medical Management of Risk Factors. She is also a member of the American Diabetes Association. 

About PCNA: The Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association (PCNA) is the leading nursing organization dedicated to preventing cardiovascular disease (CVD) through assessing risk, facilitating lifestyle changes, and guiding individuals to achieve treatment goals. The mission of PCNA is to promote nurses as leaders in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease. PCNA does this by educating and supporting nurses through the development of professional and patient education, leadership, and advocacy.

Media Contact: Abby Gutowski, Public Relations and Marketing Manager, agutowski@pcna.net, 920.606.2115