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cardiovascular nurses, cardiovascular risk factor prevalence, healthy lifestyles



  1. Fair, Joan M. PhD, FAHA
  2. Gulanick, Meg PhD, APRN, FAHA, FAAN
  3. Braun, Lynne T. PhD, CNP, FAHA, FAAN


The cornerstone of cardiovascular disease prevention is the promotion of a healthy lifestyle and the identification and reduction of cardiovascular risk factors. Cardiology nurses play a major role in counseling patients about lifestyle and cardiovascular risk factors. We used an e-mail survey to elicit self-reported prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and healthy lifestyles among the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association (PCNA) members and compared their risk profiles with published data for American cardiologists, the Nurses' Health Study 2, and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey data for women.


Results: A total of 1,345 complete surveys were collected. The respondents were mostly women (96%), with mean (SD) age of 47.4 (8.7) years. More than 95% were not cigarette smokers, more than 50% had a healthy body mass index (<25), and more than 56% achieved the recommended levels of physical activity. Nevertheless, obesity (body mass index >= 30) was a health risk in one-fifth of PCNA respondents. The rates of hypertension (17%) and dyslipidemia (15%) were lower than rates reported in other national samples; however, the rate for family history of premature heart disease (20%) was similar to those reported in national samples. Since family history of premature heart disease may be a more significant risk factor in women, PCNA respondents with such a family history may require targeted interventions to further reduce their risk and improve their lifestyle behaviors.


Conclusion: PCNA nurses have more favorable lifestyle profiles compared with national samples. It can be expected that nurses who know their risk factors and who follow healthy lifestyle behaviors will be more effective in these counseling roles.