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The concept of the‘mindful body’,‘coronary candidacy’and‘prevention paradox’are three of many interesting themes explored in this paper which examines how, and to what extent, health information is received and translated into the daily domestic setting by coronary family groups. Taking an ethnographic approach to collecting data highlights both the advantages and disadvantages of this methodology in practice. Certainly, the emergence of a health promotion orientation in health care is an area which is intimately connected to aspects of human culture and society that have long been a central concern of anthropologists. This mini-ethnography provides an anthropological understanding of the knowledge, beliefs and behaviours associated with heart disease and its prevention. The concept of the‘mindful body’is provided as a critical interpretive approach to analysing the potential outcome of prescribed lifestyle changes, as given to coronary sufferers and their families during the period following coronary artery bypass surgery. Data drawn from this study confirms the evidence of lay epidemiology which works within the cultural field of fate, luck and destiny, and which has interesting implications as to how nurses might plan for their health promotion strategies in the future.