Heart Health: Knowledge Is Half the Battle

Heart health knowledge may not always lead to health improvements

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Many people at risk of heart health problems didn't feel a need to make changes to improve their health, according to a new study.

And even those who saw the need to make lifestyle changes were likely to say that work and family responsibilities would get in the way.

"Understanding what motivates changes in behavior is key to improving the health of individuals and communities," said lead study author Dr. F. Daniel Ramirez, a research fellow at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute in Canada, in a press release. "Our study sheds light on how knowledge of personally modifiable risk factors for heart attack, such as quitting smoking and exercising, affects people's perception of the need to improve their health."

For their study, these researchers looked at survey responses from more than 45,000 Canadian adults. These study participants were asked about heart health risk factors, including poor diet, lack of exercise, high alcohol intake, smoking, stress, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. Then, surveys asked participants if they thought they needed to make any changes to improve their health.

Nearly 18 percent of those with five or more heart risk factors said they didn't see a need to make heart health improvements, these researchers found. On the more positive side, more than 73 percent of the study participants said there was something they thought they should do.

The authors of this study concluded that knowing what lifestyle factors raise the risk of heart attack can effectively motivate some patients to make healthier choices. But there is still a group that might require a different approach.

This study looked at Canadians, so it may not apply directly to the attitudes and habits of people in other countries.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The authors disclosed no outside funding sources or potential conflicts of interest.

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Review Date: 
May 23, 2017