• cardiovascular disease;
  • nursing;
  • rural women;
  • social-ecological model;
  • transtheoretical model



To compare 2 strategies, stage-matched nursing and community intervention (SMN+CI) and community intervention (CI) alone in changing cardiovascular risk factors in up to 3 behavioral areas: diet, physical activity, and/or smoking among rural women.


A 14-month, multisite randomized controlled trial of 117 rural women was conducted. Transtheoretical model was used in identification of stage of change and development of the SMN+CI nursing interventions. A social-ecological model was used to address issues of rurality in the development of interventions.


The SMN + CI group was superior on 4 outcomes. There were significant increases in 2 measures of dietary intake; improvement in dietary stage of change for fruits and vegetables; and reduced diastolic blood pressure (DBP) in the SMN + CI group. After log transformation DBP significance was lost. The CI group had a significant reduction in change in total cholesterol; however, significance was lost after control for the initiation of lipid lowering medications. There was a significant reduction in Framingham risk scores pre- to postintervention, regardless of group.


There continues to be a need to improve cardiovascular risk factors in rural women. There should be an exploration of whether intensified dose and fidelity of the intervention strategies of diet and physical activity are effective in improving anthropometric and laboratory values. Further investigation is warranted into factors influencing the pre- to postreduction in Framingham risk scores.