Matriarchal Model for Cardiovascular Prevention

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Family patterns of cardiovascular risk behavior are well documented. Significant correlation exists between spouse-spouse, parent-child, and sibling of cholesetrol, high- and low-density lipoprotein, diet, physical activity, and smoking. Family/environmental influences are important in how/if risk and/or preventive behavior is learned. The family matriarch commonly functions as gatekeeper, controlling easting behavior, access to health care, and other patterns. She often acts as menu planner, shopper, and preparer of meals for all family members. She provides information and verbal reinforcement about food and is a powerful model concerning dietary practices. In fact, the mother, as head of household in most single-parent families, may be the only adult model for many children, Because relevance and credibility are the most important characterstics of a behavioral model, parents (especially mothers) are strong models for obseryational learning by children. Risk factor information and risk reduction activities adopted by the matriarch can be generalized to the entire family of she learns the skills to act as a change agent initiation of this process of education and training the matriarch lies with primary care providers for women (Ob-Gyns see most women). By teaching risk reduction to the matriarch as a component of primary care, physician interaction can have a rippling effect.

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