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Binghamton University research focuses on heart health in rural women

A new study led by researchers at the Decker School of Nursing at Binghamton University, State University of New York, will look at ways to improve heart healthy behaviors among rural women. The work will be funded by a three year, $150,000 grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research.

"Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of women in this country," said Associate Professor Pamela Stewart Fahs, the principal investigator on this grant and director of the Binghamton University O'Connor Office of Rural Health Studies.

While rural women may not be at higher risk for cardiovascular disease than the rest of the population, they do face particular challenges. For instance, they were among the last groups in the country to start smoking and they're among the last to quit. Rural women may also have a harder time accessing health care and messages about healthy habits than suburban or urban women.

"I've seen a lot of the issues firsthand," said Stewart Fahs, who grew up in southeast Kentucky. "I've also seen what socio-cultural aspects of rural living both protect and cause problems for those citizens."

The study will involve a total of 176 women ages 45-65 at moderate to high risk for cardiovascular disease. Half will be from Delaware County in New York and the other half will be from a rural Virginia county.

Researchers will use two techniques in an effort to encourage study participants to be physically active, eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables daily and not smoke. The first technique, called community intervention, will be available to all of the women in the study. That process will involve community leaders in designing a campaign to raise awareness of heart healthy behaviors through events and public service announcements. focuses on heart health in rural women

The second technique, a series of nursing interventions, will be part of the program for half of the study participants. Those
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Contact: Gail Glover
gglover@binghamton.edu
607-777-2174
Binghamton University
17-Apr-2006


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