What do we Learn from the Prevention Education Program Family Heart Study about Lifestyle change, Blood Pressure, and Lipids in Children and Parents?

Peter Schwandt, Gerda‑Maria Haas


Objectives: The PEP Family Heart Study is a perspective community‑based long‑term project for the whole family to improve cardiovascular health aiming to assess and to amend risk factors in children and their parents by lifestyle change.

Methods: A total of 48,667 subjects (24,927 adults and 23,740 children) from 3,370 families living in 94% of the elementary school districts of
Nuremberg (Germany) participated in this observational study from 1993/1994 ‑2007/2008. The yearly surveys consisting of personal and family histories, structured interviews on leisure time physical activity and tobacco smoke exposition, physical examinations and nutritional intake as
documented by seven days weighed dietary protocols and sustained healthy lifestyle counselling were mainly performed at home. Fasting blood collections for biochemical analyses in the study laboratories, cooking courses and seminars on healthy lifestyle were performed on weekends in
central school buildings.

Results: Here we report some of the main results demonstrating e.g., that at least one CVD risk factor in a child conferred a 2–4 fold higher risk among their parents, that obese children and adolescents had a nearly fve times higher prevalence of hypertension than nonoverweight youths.

Conclusions: Sustained healthy lifestyle behavior can be implemented in daily life of family members which results in amended nutritional intake and improved cardiometabolic risk factors.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease risk factors, prospective community‑based study, lifestyle change

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