Date of Award

10-2012

Embargo Period

10-1-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Education MEd

Faculty

Education & Science

School

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Peter Morey

Abstract

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is increasingly becoming one of the largest contributors to preventable death globally each year. This disease is predominately caused by poor lifestyle choices such as unhealthy diet, inactivity, smoking and the harmful use of alcohol. Modern treatments of CVD are often surgical and pharmaceutical which can be both invasive and expensive and do not necessarily address the causation or prevention of the disease. Research is now being done in preventative health to study the effects that a healthy lifestyle has in both reducing and even reversing CVD. Lifestyle intervention programs are a part of this preventative health phenomenon. This study aims to explore the nature and effectiveness of the Coronary Health Improvement Program (CHIP), in its ability to reduce CVD risk factors. Data was collected from a set of volunteer-delivered CHIP programs that were conducted in Hawera, New Zealand. The sample consisted of 284 participants who responded voluntarily to local program advertising. Participants were given a blood screening and questionnaire which was conducted at the commencement and conclusion of the 30 day intervention. The blood screening was given to measure baseline biometrics (BMI, total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein, high density lipoprotein, triglycerides and glucose) and the questionnaire was a tool used to gather information about the participants’ basic demographics, lifestyle, and family and medical histories. The data was then analysed to determine changes in the blood screening biometrics post intervention. Also these changes were further examined to determine the impact, if any, of participants’ lifestyle and family medical histories. An analysis of the nature of the program and its delivery was also conducted through interviews with the program facilitator. Participants’ blood screening results post intervention indicated a significant reduction in their biometrics from the baseline scores with reductions of 4% to 23%. In particular, participants who recorded high baseline figures recorded the most significant changes after the 30 days. There were significant differences across gender, marital status and age in the reduction of a number of the participants’ biometrics. This study provides valuable evidence suggesting that a volunteer-delivered, community based, CHIP lifestyle education program is effective in improving the health of participants and, in particular, reducing CVD risk factors. These findings will be important for the designing and delivery of lifestyle education programs for the prevention and treatment of CVD for the future.

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