While many types of diseases affect thousands of individuals in eastern Kentucky, the impact of none of them can match that of cardiovascular disease (CVD). According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately 40% of the population in eastern Kentucky has or is at risk for CVD due to numerous risk factors including lack of regular physical activity, exposure to first- and secondhand smoking, access to poor or inadequate dietary programs, and cardiovascular associated health problems such as hypertension and diabetes (2012). However, each of these can be partially prevented through proper education and health awareness initiatives, when supported by public education systems. This honors thesis project was designed to assess the current cardiovascular health education administered at the secondary education level at Shelby Valley High School (SVHS) in Pikeville, Kentucky. Via surveys and interviews with almost 200 ninth- through twelfth-graders at SVHS, a snapshot of the problem plaguing eastern Kentucky was revealed. According to the study, approximately 17% of students did not know using tobacco products had detrimental effects on their cardiovascular health. Furthermore, only a third knew the recommended amount of aerobic activity and more than a quarter did not know about local health issues including the diabetes epidemic in Pike County, Kentucky. This information is taken for granted in areas where education for these concerns are available; however, by educating these students, the hope is that this information will make its way into their homes to the families that need it most.
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Deaton, Michael D., "Exploring Heart Health in Appalachian Kentucky: Preparing Students for a Healthier Future" (2013). Honors Theses. 142.