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National Cholesterol Education Month

September is National Cholesterol Education Month! The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) was established in 1985 by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The goal of the NCEP is to contribute to reducing illness and death from coronary heart disease (CHD) in the United States by reducing the percent of Americans with high blood cholesterol. Through educational efforts for health professionals and the public, the NCEP aims to raise awareness and understanding about high blood cholesterol as a risk factor for CHD and the benefits of lowering cholesterol levels as a means of preventing CHD. Each year, the NCEP provides


Each year, the NCEP provides an updated National Cholesterol Education Month Kit in an online format, making it easy for health professionals to access and disseminate information on cholesterol.


Cholesterol Month 2008 features information to help the 65 million American adults with high blood cholesterol make the therapeutic lifestyle changes needed to lower their cholesterol as well as, their risk of heart disease. To check their cholesterol status, all adults should have their cholesterol measured, know their cholesterol numbers and their risk of heart disease, and follow a heart-healthy lifestyle to lower their risk and keep it down. Cholesterol Month Kit 2008 contains a variety of materials that will assist you in bringing cholesterol-lowering information into your community, program, or practice. To download your copy of the Cholesterol Month Kit, go to http://|


Beyond Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol

The National Cholesterol Education, Adult Treatment Panel III1 and the more recent updates2,3 highlighted the importance of treating elevated triglycerides and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. The target triglyceride level was set at 150 mg/dL or less, and the HDL goal was set at greater than 40 mg/dL for men and greater than 50 mg/dL for women. Elevated triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol, along with increased waist circumference, hypertension, and glucose intolerance, are traits of the metabolic syndrome, a highly atherogenic state.


Treatment for elevated triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol has been the target of pharmaceutical companies' research and development efforts over the past several years. Unfortunately, efforts have not been as successful as hoped. In 2006, Pfizer, Inc. voluntarily stopped the development of torcetrapib, an HDL-raising therapy, because of safety concerns. Most recently, Merck & Co., Inc. failed to receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its new niacin formulation (extended release niacin/laropiprant) that was hoped to increase patients' tolerance of niacin therapy because of its flush blocking properties.


For now, the mainstay of treatment for elevated triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol continues to be therapeutic lifestyle change and use of niacin, fibrates, and omega-3 fatty acids. A thorough discussion of this topic is available at the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association (PCNA) Web site at Here, you can participate in the online continuing education program entitled "Assessment, Treatment and Evaluation of the Patient with Elevated Triglycerides and Low HDL" and receive 1 contact hour of continuing education. As a member benefit, PCNA offers a quick reference aminated card on triglycerides and HDL. Available for download online is the patient education tool entitled "What You Need to Know-Triglycerides and HDL."

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1. Third report of the National Cholesterol Education Program expert panel on detection, evaluation, and treatment of high blood cholesterol in adults (ATP III) final report. Circulation. 2002;106:3143-3421.


2.Grundy SM, Cleeman JL, Merz CNB, et al. Implications of recent clinical trials for the NCEP ATP III guidelines. Circulation. 2004;110:227-239.


3. Grundy SM, Cleeman JL, Daniels SR, et al. Diagnosis and management of the metabolic syndrome. An American Heart Association/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Scientific Statement. Executive summary. Circulation. 2005;112(17):2735-2752.


Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the Healthy Schools Program

Most children and adolescents spend an estimated 30 hours per week in school. No wonder schools have such an important impact on the health of our children. If you are looking for resources to help evaluate and improve the health of your child's school, log on to This Web site is sponsored by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, whose partners include the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation. This resource includes evaluation tools and tips to help make your school a healthier place to be and learn. The following information is an example of tips provided by this resource.


Tips for a Healthier Lunch Box

The basics:


Include one serving of vegetables or salad and one serving of fruit.


Add one serving of a low-fat or fat-free milk or dairy item such as a low-fat cheese stick, a yogurt cup, or cottage cheese.


Include one serving of meat, chicken, fish, eggs, peanut butter, or beans for protein.


Add a healthy drink such as water or 100% juice.


Healthy sandwiches:


Swap the white bread for whole wheat for added fiber.


Keep it interesting for kids-try whole-wheat pitas or flatbread wraps that you turn in to sandwich swirls.

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Use healthy meats such as turkey or chicken breast instead of high-fat cold cuts.


Sneak veggies like lettuce, cucumbers, or shredded cabbage in between slices of low-fat cheese or meats.


Use a thinner layer of peanut butter and add fruit slices-banana or apple.


Skip high-fat mayonnaise. Consider a smaller serving of reduced fat mayo or use mustard instead.


Easy entrees:


Make a cold pasta salad from whole-wheat noodles left over from last night's dinner.


Mix plain brown rice with canned beans or shredded lean meat for a high dose of protein and fiber.


Pack hummus with fresh veggies and whole-wheat pita triangles for dipping.


Include low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese with carrots, cherry tomatoes, fresh berries, or melon for a calcium-rich high-protein lunch.


Healthy drinks:


If you pack juice, make sure it is 100% juice. All fruit drinks are required to list the percent of juice on the label.


Water and low-fat milk are the best drinks for children. They can be frozen to help keep foods in the lunch box cool and will usually be defrosted for drinking by lunch time.


It Is Back to School Time Help America's Kids by Supporting the Fitness Integrated with Teaching Kids Act Today!

Childhood obesity has reached epidemic levels. It is a major public health challenge that affects families, teachers, health professionals, and policy makers. Currently, 17% of children and adolescents are overweight, a figure that is even higher among minorities. The number is predicted to reach 20% by the year 2010. Since 1960, overweight prevalence rates among children and adolescents have increased by more than three times. This epidemic of childhood obesity means increased rates of heart disease and other obesity-related health problems as these children reach adulthood.


Increased physical activity, along with healthy eating patterns, is key to helping reverse the childhood obesity epidemic. The Fitness Integrated with Teaching Kids Act (HR 3257/2.2173) is an important piece of legislation that would amend the No Child Left Behind Act to help prioritize quality physical education in our schools. The Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association encourages you to lend your support of this legislation by sending a message to congress to pass this legislation for the health of our children. The American Heart Association has established a Web page that makes it easy for you to electronically send a letter to your representative. Visit for more information about the Fitness Integrated with Teaching Kids Act.




1. Ogden CL, Yanovski SZ, Carroll MD, Flegal KM. The epidemiology of obesity. Gastroenterology. 2007;132:2087-2102.


World Heart Federation Sponsors World Heart Day 2008

World Heart Day's call to action to alert people across the globe of their risk for heart disease and stroke is scheduled for September 28, 2008.


Early detection and knowledge risk factors are the first steps in reducing one's risk of having these diseases "so everyone can have a heart for life," said Professor Shahryar Sheikh, President of the World Heart Federation. The World Heart Federation, a non-governmental organization based in Geneva, Switzerland, is committed to helping the global population achieve a longer and better life through prevention and control of heart disease and stroke, with a particular focus on low- and middle-income countries. Although heart disease is the world's greatest killer, 80% of the victims are from low- and middle-income countries.

World Heart Federati... - Click to enlarge in new windowWorld Heart Federation

This annual campaign is important in increasing public awareness of the risks of hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, tobacco use, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle. World Heart Day began in 1999 with the vision that the World Heart Federation's 196 member organizations in more than 100 countries would, with one voice, spread the word about heart health.


Activities on the day include health checks, walks, runs, fitness sessions, public talks, scientific forums, exhibitions, concerts, and sports tournaments. This is a great opportunity for PCNA members in the Americas and beyond to join this campaign. To find out what activities will be taking place in your country on World Heart Day, visit


Section Description

The Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing is the official journal of the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association. PCNA is the leading nursing organization dedicated to preventing cardiovascular disease through assessing risk, facilitating lifestyle changes, and guiding individuals to achieve treatment goals.