Improving cardiovascular health of underserved populations in the community with Life's Simple 7

J Am Assoc Nurse Pract. 2015 Nov;27(11):615-23. doi: 10.1002/2327-6924.12231. Epub 2015 Mar 16.


Purpose: The purpose of this nurse practitioner (NP) led initiative was to improve the cardiovascular health of two underserved populations in the community using the American Heart Association (AHA) Life's Simple 7 and My Life Check (MLC) tools.

Data sources: Two inner city community sites were targeted: (a) a senior center servicing African American (AA) older adults, and (b) a residential facility servicing homeless women. Preprogram health data (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose levels, body mass index, and health behaviors) were collected to calculate MLC scores. Postprogram health data were obtained on participants with the lowest MLC scores who completed the program.

Conclusions: Eight older adults completed the program with a 37.1% increase in average MLC score (6.2 vs. 8.5). Ten women completed the program with a 9.3% decrease in average MLC score (4.3 vs. 3.9). Favorable benefits were observed in the AA older adults. In contrast, similar benefits were not observed in the women, which may be because of a constellation of social, environmental, biological, and mental health factors.

Implications for practice: NPs are prepared to target community-based settings to address the health of underserved populations. Engaging key stakeholders in the planning and implementation is essential for success.

Keywords: Cardiovascular; coaching; community; disparities; health promotion; lifestyle; risk modification.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / ethnology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / nursing*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Community Health Nursing
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illinois
  • Male
  • Medically Underserved Area*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Practice Patterns, Nurses'*
  • Primary Health Care
  • Primary Prevention
  • Urban Population