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Rural Appalachian Perspectives on Heart Health: Social Ecological Contexts

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Objective: To explore factors associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in Central Appalachia Kentucky to guide development of a culturally appropriate risk reduction intervention. Methods: Based on community-based participatory research principles, 7 focus groups were conducted with 88 healthcare employees and residents from 6 Appalachian counties. Sessions were audio-recorded and transcribed. Thematic analysis was used to identify themes and sub-themes. Results: Participants most frequently attributed CVD risk to behaviors including unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, and smoking, and to inadequate preventive care. Intrapersonal, interpersonal, sociocultural, environmental, organizational, and policy level influences on risk were identified. Conclusion: Comprehensive intervention guided by a social ecological framework is needed to address CVD risk reduction in Appalachian Kentucky communities.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Kentucky College of Nursing, Lexington, KY, USA. [email protected] 2: University of Kentucky College of Nursing, Lexington, KY, USA 3: Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Gill Heart Institute, Lexington, KY, USA 4: University of Kentucky College of Public Health, Lexington, KY, USA 5: University of Kentucky College of Dentistry, Lexington, KY, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2014

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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