Walking for Heart Health in Rural Women

Tuesday, 10 November 2015: 10:20 AM

Elisabeth J. Marigliano, BSN, RN1
Pamela Stewart Fahs, PhD, RN1
Cristina Ludden, MA, BS2
(1)Decker School of Nursing, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY, USA
(2)School of Nursing, SUNY Delhi, Delhi, NY, USA


Purpose:  To examine the effects of a walking program on outcomes such as blood pressure, total and HDL cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), 10 year cardiovascular risk and results of a 6-minute walk test for adult women in a rural community in upstate New York.

Method: A 10 week walking program was initiated in a rural community in upstate New York; a convenience sample of 70 eligible females was obtained from this walking program.  We successfully retained 62 of those participants to study completion; however 2 participants did not have a post cholesterol reading.  We collected pre and post BMI, total cholesterol, HDL, blood pressure and a 6 minute walk test on the selected women.  Pedometer activity was collected throughout the program with computer downloads at 5 and 10 weeks.  Socio-demographic variables such as age, self-identified ethnicity and reported educational level are used to describe the sample and trends in the data.   In this quasi-experimental study we conducted eight paired t-tests of pre and post data with Bonferroni correction for multiple t-tests.

Findings: The age range was 29-79 with a mean age of 55 years.  The mean pretest weight was 181 lbs. and the mean pretest BMI was 30.7.  Upon completion of the walking program there was a statistically significant improvement (p < .05) in the following measures: weight, BMI, total cholesterol, systolic blood pressure and the 6 minute walk test.  All comparisons retained significance except improvement in total cholesterol after the Bonferroni correction.  Although not statistically significant there was also an improvement in diastolic blood pressure, HDL and 10 year cardiovascular risk.  We also discovered a statistically significant increase in aerobic steps from midway through the end of the study, after an incentive raffle challenge was implemented. 

Conclusions:  The data suggest that a community walking program utilizing pedometers with tracking capabilities was successful in increasing steps and improving select cardiovascular risk factors in a rural community in upstate New York.