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Community-based interventions to reduce lifestyle risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) can be successful, according to a recent 6-year study conducted at the Heart of New Ulm CVD prevention demonstration project (Benson et al., 2019).

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This is the first known study that combined patient self-reporting and electronic health record (EHR) data. Researchers analyzed EHR data from 2009 to 2014, looking at behavioral measures, at heart health screenings, including smoking, physical activity, alcohol use, fruit/vegetable consumption, and stress.


Results showed that, as a community, participants lowered their CVD risk; participants increased their 150 minutes of moderately vigorous weekly physical activity levels by 7.7%, whereas 11.2% more individuals ate five or more servings of produce daily. The study findings revealed no significant changes in smoking, stress, alcohol, or body mass index.


One study aspect was a focus on the nutritional environment by partnering with restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, and a local farmers' market to increase healthful produce availability. To boost physical activity, the community instituted a Complete Streets Policy and a Safe Routes to School program.


"As healthcare systems are being held more accountable for the communities they serve, population-level data on nutrition, physical activity and medication adherence, among other behaviors, could help inform strategies to evaluate and improve the public's health," stated the authors (p. 337).


Faith community nurses can utilize this information by focusing on modifiable lifestyle risk factors in their health promotion efforts.


Benson, G., Sidebottom, A. C., Sillah, A., Vock, D. M., Vacquier, M. C., Miedema, M. D., & VanWormer, J. J. (2019). Population-level changes in lifestyle risk factors for cardiovascular disease in the Heart of New Ulm Project. Preventive Medicine Reports, 13, 332-340. doi:10.1016/j.pmedr.2019.01.018



The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019) recently released the following (para 1-2):


Do you or your loved ones have a plan to stay safe, mobile, and independent as you age? Many people make financial plans for retirement, but don't plan for potential mobility changes. The mobility planning tool can guide you to keep your loved ones safe, mobile, and independent.


Work through the three sections to create your personal MyMobility Plan:


1. Myself: How to stay independent


2. MyHome: How to stay safe at home


3. MyNeighborhood: How to stay mobile in your community



Why Have a MyMobility Plan?


* Falls and motor vehicle crashes, which are related to mobility, are the leading causes of injury and death in older adults.


* There are many negative outcomes for older adults if they stop driving or fall, including reductions in their health, social interaction, and the ability to get around.


* The CDC developed this planning tool to help older adults plan for future mobility changes that might increase their risk for motor vehicle crashes and falls.


* Adult children or caregivers can also use this planning tool to help older parents, relatives, or friends.-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019). Retrieved from




"Even when it comes to the work of ministry, it sometimes appears that the goal is to keep people busy with ministry jobs. In The Way of the Heart, Henri Nouwen suggests a different aim: 'Our task is to help people concentrate on the real but often hidden event of God's active presence in their lives. Hence, the questions that must guide all organizing activities in a parish is not how to keep people busy, but how to keep them from being so busy that they can no longer hear the voice of God who speaks in silence.' And it is in hearing the voice of God in the quiet that enables us to live and work well. Instead of being a guarantee of fruitfulness, overwork can become a guarantee against it."


"Unhurry enables us to notice God's very real but often hidden activity around us, among us and in us. Extended times to be alone and quiet with God tune me back to reality. I keep thinking that 'real' life is all the tasks and emails and bills and projects and other things that fill my schedule. But Jesus himself is real life. And real life in Jesus is eternal and spacious, not condensed, compressed, compacted. Real life is huge and unhurried" (p. 49).-From Falding, A. (2013). An Unhurried Life: Following Jesus' Rhythms of Work and Rest. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.


-PulseBeats compiled by Karen Schmidt and Cathy Walker