Status: Funded - Open
Ana Devesa, MD, PhD
BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular diseases, one of the leading causes of death worldwide, have their origin in the childhood; there is growing evidence that an unhealthy lifestyle in childhood is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease in adulthood. Through prior studies in Colombia and Spain involving around 3,500 children, our team has shown that health promotion educational interventions targeted at children can improve health outcomes, particularly because they lead to an improvement in knowledge, attitude and health habits. However, the data on effectiveness of health interventions on objective health measurements are sparse. GAP: To determine if school-based health promotion interventions have an impact on cardiovascular health of children as evaluated by objective parameters such as biometrics, blood parameters and behaviors. HYPOTHESIS: 1. Our health program intervention will impact the adapted Ideal Cardiovascular Health (ICH) of intervened children compared to non-intervened children.; 2. Multiple factors within the families, teachers and environment will affect the adapted ICH at baseline and follow-up. METHODS: We will conduct a cluster randomized trial: participating schools will be randomized to an intervention group or a control (non-intervention) group. The project will take place in New York City elementary schools, and enrollment will include children of ages 5 to 6. We will measure the change in adapted ICH in intervened vs non-intervened children (primary endpoint), and we will study the impact of parent characteristics, teacher factors and the child´s environment on children´s baseline adapted ICH and the change in adapted ICH. RESULTS: Pending. IMPACT: The recognition that health interventions in children objectively improve health parameters will lay the foundation for primordial prevention strategies to start in early childhood, leading to improved cardiovascular health in both children and adults, thus addressing one of the leading causes of death worldwide.