Cardiac Health Promotion Improves Teens' Eating Habits

But intervention does not help black teens narrow hypertension risk gap with other races
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- A school-based cardiac health promotion intervention aimed at black adolescents helps them to understand more about heart health, exercise more and increase their intake of fruit and vegetables, although it does not reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels, according to research published in the November issue of Applied Nursing Research.

Maureen McCormick Covelli, Ph.D., R.N., of the University of Central Florida School of Nursing in Orlando, conducted a study of 48 black teens aged between 14 and 17, of whom 31 (24 boys and seven girls) were randomized to a nine-week intervention program that focused on their exercise and dietary habits as well as knowledge and blood pressure, while 17 subjects (eight boys and nine girls) acted as controls. They were all from an urban high school in a low socioeconomic status area.

In terms of knowledge, fruit and vegetable intake and exercise, there were significant differences between the intervention and control groups after the nine-week program, the researcher reports. However, blood pressure levels did not change significantly, the findings indicate.

"The participants' comparable and narrow ranges of mean systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure levels may be related to the non-significant changes noted in their blood pressure," the author writes. "The clinical implications of this study are the importance of health education and the assessment of cardiovascular risk factors and blood pressure levels for African-American and all adolescents."

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