- Reduce heart disease mortality to no more than 180 deaths per 100,000 population (baseline age-adjusted rate of 212 in 2006), West Virginia's Healthy People 2010 Flagship objective.
- Provide the opportunity for West Virginia's health science students to learn concepts of health promotion/disease prevention at the local community level.
- Partner with state government, secondary and higher education, and the private sector to reverse the obesity epidemic in West Virginia.
West Virginia (WV) is the second most rural state in the nation, with two-thirds of its 1.8 million people living in communities of less than 2500 population and 44 of its 55 counties designated non-metropolitan by the Federal Office of Management and Budget.
The economic plight of WV is reflected in the cardiovascular health of its residents. The age-adjusted rate of heart disease was 212/100,000 in 2006, 16% higher than the national average. Over 10% of the population has heart disease, the highest percentage in the nation. Lifestyle clearly is an issue. Results of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Behavioral Risk Factor Survey in 2012 showed that WV had the third highest rate of obesity, and the highest rate of diabetes in the nation.
The Coronary Artery Risk Detection In Appalachian Communities (CARDIAC) Project was initiated in 1998 as a means of reversing this disparity in CVD, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Comprehensive in design, CARDIAC has two components, a school-based surveillance and intervention initiative, and a targeted individualized approach toward identification and referral for treatment those individuals with the most severe genetic cause of death from premature CVD: familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). CARDIAC is the first statewide CVD intervention program of its kind in the nation. Since its inception CARDIAC has grown from a small school-based CVD surveillance project piloted in three rural WV counties to an expanded multidimensional effort involving all of the state's 55 counties.
The CARDIAC Project relies on the continued support from the West Virginia Executive and Legislative Branches, administered by the Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR).
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