There is little doubt that the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease is a pediatric problem that nursing must address. Cardiovascular health-promotion activities for children have generally used an ecologic model, providing community-based education programs in the schools. The purpose of this study was to identify changes in cardiovascular risk among sixth-grade cohorts over eight years. Four variables known to be associated with such risk-weight (obesity), pulse rate recovery index, blood pressure, and total cholesterol level-were measured on 4900 students, and changes in their prevalence were analyzed.
The data presented in this paper were compiled from a screening program conducted by a local health department in partnership with a school district's health-education program. Although the school-based health-education program has been in existence for eight years, the prevalence of cardiovascular risk in sixth-grade students has not declined, suggesting the need for nurses to target the children at risk, and address more directly the motivational and affective domains in addition to cognitively focused programs.