St. Mary's Hospital

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Meet the Investigators
Target Population
Proposed Strategy
Anticipated Outcome
HSA-Level Statistics

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Jack Taylor, M.S., Spokesperson
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Principal Investigator: Jack Taylor, M.S.
Director, Regional Heart Center
St. Mary's Hospital
Phone: (304) 526-1577
Fax: (304) 526-8795

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Helping Educators Attack Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors Together (HEART)
St. Mary's Hospital
Huntington, West Virginia

Target Population

The target population includes approximately 8,000 third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders from 45 public elementary schools in Cabell, Wayne, and Lincoln Counties in West Virginia; parents and families of the students; and school staff. These three counties have cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality rates that far exceed the U.S. average, as well as high rates of CVD risk factors among their populations.

Proposed Strategy

This project will use a school-based intervention approach, based on the proven science-based intervention methods from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's (NHLBI's) SPARK and CATCH programs, to address the prevention, detection, and treatment of CVD risk factors in at-risk elementary school children. Specific strategies used by SPARK and CATCH include:

  1. Creating partnerships to build an infrastructure to sustain the school-based outreach and education project over time.
  2. Revising health education and science curricula to provide students with essential information about healthy lifestyles.
  3. Improving school meals to provide healthful food choices.
  4. Enhancing physical education programs to promote personal fitness and aerobic conditioning.
  5. Providing in-service training programs for teachers designed to improve their effectiveness in the teaching of health-related school subjects.
  6. Providing CVD risk factor testing.
  7. Developing an outreach program that promotes healthful behavior outside the classroom (e.g., for parents and families).

The proposed strategies will focus on two NHLBI performance goals:

  • Prevent development of risk factors.
  • Detect and treat risk factors.

Anticipated Outcome

Anticipated overall outcomes of this project are: (1) decreases in the prevalence of mean cholesterol levels, mean blood pressure levels, and body mass index (BMI) levels, and (2) increases in healthy behavior among the targeted third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students and parents and families. Specific outcomes are expected to include:

For students:

  • Development of a new health and science curricula.
  • Development of a new school lunch program.
  • Increased mean minutes of physical activity per child, per day.
  • Improved scores on the President's Physical Fitness Test.

For Parents/Families:

  • Increased CVD knowledge.
  • Decreased number of parents who smoke.
  • Increased healthy lifestyle behavior changes (e.g., diet, physical activity).

For Staff: Increased knowledge of CVD.

Overall: Increased number of children and families screened for high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and overweight/obesity and referred for followup.