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Keywords

heart disease, online program, risk reduction, women

 

Authors

  1. Arslanian-Engoren, Cynthia PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, FAHA, FAAN
  2. Eastwood, Jo-Ann PhD, RN, CCNS, ACNP-BC, FAHA
  3. De Jong, Marla J. PhD, RN, CCNS, FAAN
  4. Berra, Kathy MSN, ANP-BC, FAHA, FPCNA, FAAN

Abstract

Background: The American Heart Association created Go Red Heart Match, a free and secure online program that enables women to connect with each other to fight heart disease either personally or as a caregiver for someone with heart disease. Through these connections, participants have an opportunity to develop a personal, private, and supportive relationship with other women; share common experiences; and motivate and encourage each other to follow a heart-healthy lifestyle.

 

Objective: The aims of this study were to describe the demographic characteristics of the Go Red Heart Match responders and to determine whether participation in the program prompted participants to engage in heart-healthy behaviors.

 

Methods: A secondary analysis of data collected as part of a needs assessment survey from the American Heart Association Go Red Heart Match was conducted.

 

Results: A total of 117 (35%) of the 334 invited women completed the survey. Most responders were female, married, and college educated. A total of 105 (90%) responders were diagnosed with a type of heart disease or stroke and 77 (73%) responders had undergone treatment. As a result of participating in the program, 75% of the responders reported the following improvements in heart-healthy behaviors: eating a more heart-healthy diet (54%), exercising more frequently (53%), losing weight (47%), and quitting smoking (10%). Responders who had a diagnosis of heart attack (n = 48) were more likely (P = .003) to quit smoking than were those with other diagnoses (n = 69). Notably, 48% of responders reported encouraging someone else in their life to speak to their doctor about their risk for heart disease.

 

Conclusions: Most women who participated in Heart Match reported engaging in new heart-healthy behaviors. The findings support expanding the existing program in a more diverse population as a potentially important way to reach women and encourage cardiovascular disease risk reduction for those with heart disease and stroke.