Those who live in rural areas -- about 20 percent of the United States’ population -- face availability, accessibility and acceptability issues not experienced by urban and suburban residents.
As a result, “It’s hard to make behavioral changes on a consistent basis,” says Stewart Fahs. “And, it’s even more difficult if you don’t have the support or if you’re not in a culture that values a healthy diet and physical activity.”
With a team of Binghamton University professors and research assistants, Fahs implemented a study funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research to promote heart health in rural women. The experimental design put community prevention strategies and nursing interventions into practice in rural communities in New York and Virginia.
Fahs and her team screened over 280 women for their level of cardiovascular risk, with help from Southern Tier cardiologist Nicholas Stamato ’76. About 130 women completed the study and Fahs and her research team will analyze data including blood pressure, cholesterol levels, height, weight, body mass index and information regarding diet, exercise, depression levels and self-nurturance.
Fahs’ next project -- Matters of Your Heart -- will educate women on symptoms, knowledge and recognition of heart attacks in women. She notes that in the past heart attacks in women were often misdiagnosed given that symptoms are sometimes different than those found in men. “We’re now seeing the medical community be much more aggressive when treating women’s cardiovascular symptoms,” Fahs explains. “Now we need women to know their symptoms so they can seek treatment appropriately.”
Last Updated: 1/8/13