This study examined relationships among knowledge, food patterns, fatness, and cardiovascular disease risk factors in school children receiving a three-year education program focused on cognitive and behavioral aspects of cardiovascular health promotion. Nine hundred children, 7.5 ± 0.5 years, from 12 schools, received the program from third to fifth grade. Outcome evaluation variables were heart healthy knowledge, self-report of frequency of common foods, total cholesterol, blood pressure, and fatness. Children were evaluated at baseline and at five follow-up periods. At three years, health knowledge increased 30 perent, reported use of high fat foods fell 14 percent, high sodium foods fell 16 percent, and high sugar foods fell three percent. At three years cholesterol reversed its initial downward trend and was higher compared with baseline whereas systolic blood pressure was lower. Cognitive and behavioral measures were essentially unrelated to total cholesterol and blood pressure. Correlations of blood pressure with measures of fatness ranged from r = 0.42 to 0.53 and correlations of cholesterol with fatness were r = 0.11 to 0.23. Despite favorable trends for health knowledge and patterns of food use, changes in cardiovascular disease risk factors were variable. The relationships of blood pressure and cholesterol to fatness suggest that avoiding obesity may be the best opportunity to prevent future hypertension and hyperlipidemia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health