Effectiveness of early identification and electronic interventions for teens with risk factors for the development of heart disease and diabetes: Phase II findings

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Abstract

Background and purpose:

Serum and physical risk factors for the development of heart disease and diabetes are detectable long before adulthood. The purpose of this two-part study was to assess the prevalence and associations of these risk factors in teens and determine the effectiveness of a customizable two-part electronic education program on minimizing identified risks.

Methods:

Data were collected from teens (n = 168) from two high schools (one urban and one rural) in the mid-Atlantic region. After baseline data were collected, the two-part electronic education program was initiated. Serum and physical risk factors were rechecked at 12-week intervals, and results were analyzed.

Conclusions:

Significant serum and physical risk factor associations were identified and remained present among teens over the course of the study. High-density lipoproteins showed significant, steady improvement. Low-density lipoproteins were positively associated with body mass index, diastolic blood pressure, and thyroid-stimulating hormone level.

Implications for practice:

Although serum and physical risk factors are identifiable in teens, routine screening of this age group and younger is not an established standard of care. Health care providers need effective, innovative methods to counteract these risks. Through increased awareness of the presence of risk factors in young patients, advanced nurse practitioners may implement earlier interventions to counteract these risks.

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