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Effects of a mail‐based intervention to improve knowledge of blood pressure and cholesterol values

Chi‐Fung Lu (The University of Michigan Health Management Research Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA)
Alyssa B. Schultz (The University of Michigan Health Management Research Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA)
Mary Jenny (Wisconsin Education Association Trust (WEA Trust), Madison, Wisconsin, USA)
Dee W. Edington (The University of Michigan Health Management Research Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA)

International Journal of Workplace Health Management

ISSN: 1753-8351

Article publication date: 27 September 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate a mail‐based educational intervention to improve knowledge of blood pressure and cholesterol values among members of a large insurance population.

Design/methodology/approach

As part of the 2004 health risk appraisal (HRA) follow‐up program, 48,429 members of WEA Trust received at least two mailings for the mail‐based blood pressure and cholesterol intervention. These members then completed a follow‐up HRA in 2006. Change in the knowledge and risks of blood pressure and cholesterol values were analyzed among two‐time participants. A survey was also completed six to nine months after the first mailing to study participants' awareness and perception of the program.

Findings

The 2004 and 2006 two‐time HRA participants showed a 13.9 percentage point gain (p<0.05) and 12.2 percentage point gain (p<0.05) in people who knew their blood pressure and cholesterol values, respectively, as well as a significant increase in the percent of people taking medication or under medical care for their blood pressure (+2.9 for overall and +11.3 for BP≥140/90 population; p<0.05) or cholesterol conditions (+3.8 for overall and +11.4 for cholesterol≥240 population; p<0.05). Among those who knew their values (BP or cholesterol) in both 2004 and 2006, there was a 3.9 percentage point increase (p<0.05) in the number of people with normal BP (BP<120/80 mmHg) and a 4.8 percentage point increase (p<0.05) in the number of people with normal cholesterol (cholesterol <200 mg/dL) in 2006. The majority (83 percent) of survey respondents found the materials useful for improving health and 22 percent contacted a physician because of the information they received.

Practical implications

This relatively low‐cost and easily implemented educational intervention was successful in increasing knowledge of blood pressure and cholesterol values, taking control of blood pressure and cholesterol risks and in encouraging appropriate follow‐up with a physician.

Originality/value

Knowledge of blood pressure and cholesterol numbers are an important first step in raising awareness of a person's health risks and disease status.

Keywords

Citation

Lu, C., Schultz, A.B., Jenny, M. and Edington, D.W. (2011), "Effects of a mail‐based intervention to improve knowledge of blood pressure and cholesterol values", International Journal of Workplace Health Management, Vol. 4 No. 3, pp. 274-286. https://doi.org/10.1108/17538351111172626

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited