Identifying risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) early in life gives advanced practice nurses an opportunity to educate parents about choices that promote long-term heart health. The addition of universal lipid screening to 9- to 11-year-old well-child examinations opens a time interval that is adequate for conversations related to cardiovascular health.Objective:
The objective of this study was to determine if the use of a 10-minute health promotion plan that includes identification of child modifiable CVD risk factors would have an effect on parental intent to engage in lifestyle changes that promote heart health in 9- to 11-year-old children.Methods:
The quasi-experimental pilot study involved 26 English-speaking parents of 9- to 11-year-old children during routine well-child examinations. Participants completed questionnaires before and after receiving a health promotion plan and the child’s modifiable CVD risk screening results. The advanced practice nurse-researcher analyzed the questionnaires to evaluate parental intent to promote lifestyle changes.Results:
Increases were seen in concern for the child’s future heart health and in awareness of diet and exercise recommendations. Participants were likely to encourage more fruits and vegetables (100%), limit “screen time” (96%), encourage physical activity (92%), and limit sugar-sweetened beverage intake (96%). Factors identified as most influential on participant decision to encourage change were the child’s body mass index (38.46%), lipid screening results (23.08%), and “other”–tobacco smoke exposure (15.38%), which closely approximate national prevalence for each risk category.Conclusions:
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends lipid screening once for all children between 9 and 11 years of age. In this study, outlining recommendations for good health and identifying modifiable CVD risk factors showed a positive effect on parental intent to encourage lifestyle changes. Further research is needed to advance the science of CVD prevention and risk reduction in children.