DOI: 10.1161/circ.148.suppl_1.17020 ISSN: 0009-7322

Abstract 17020: Education of Children Improves Awareness of Hypertension, a Novel Method to Improve Health Equity

Cherylann Rocha, Amy C Ladd, Kristine C Olson, Unice Davis, Grace Smith, Arianna Martinez, Sarah Neely, Ralph Dagostino, Greg G Hundley, Phillip Duncan, Sangeeta Shah
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Introduction: Approximately 45% of the U.S. population has hypertension (HTN), with increased prevalence in Black adults in urban areas. HTN is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and renal failure. Increasing awareness of HTN during early education may improve health equity.

Hypothesis: We hypothesized that a science-based educational program administered to primary school students can increase knowledge of HTN with the objective of increasing awareness and health equity.

Methods: We engaged 95 4th graders in an urban, public school system (44% White, 43% Black, 13% Other) with an innovative, experiential educational program administered across four, one-hour sessions as part of their curriculum. We taught and assessed students’ awareness of HTN across four topics: (1) knowledge of BP & HTN, (2) organ systems impacted by HTN, (3) habits to maintain a healthy BP, and (4) their competence to operate a BP monitor according to AHA recommendations. Assessments were completed via surveys of 21 individual data points and administered pre-and post-program with each child as their own control. Paired t-tests were used to analyze the pre- and post-survey data.

Results: Of the 95 students who underwent the program, 71 children had both pre- and post-program results. Comparison of pre-and post-program data showed a statistically significant improvement in students’ knowledge about healthy nutrition, organs affected by HTN, and understanding of blood pressure/HTN (53% to 90%, 20% to 75%, and 40% to 77%, respectively)[p<0.001 for all; Table below]

Conclusions: Implementing an educational program focused on knowledge of nutrition, organ systems, and BP to 4th-grade students significantly raised awareness of HTN. This innovative program in an urban public school is feasible and may be the first step to decreasing the morbidity of a highly prevalent and modifiable disease in a community.

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