Factors Influencing Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Health Perception among Kentuckians Living in Appalachia

Cilgy M. Abraham, Sarah Kelly, Dean Wantland, Misook L. Chung, Gia Mudd-Martin, Martha J. Biddle, Debra K. Moser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and risk factors for CVD are prevalent among Appalachians from Kentucky. Appalachian men and women have high rates of engagement in unhealthy behaviors and poor physical health measures that increase their risk for CVD. Objective: In this study, the relationship among gender, CVD risk factors, and health perception in Appalachians from Kentucky was explored. Methods: This cross-sectional secondary analysis is from a randomized controlled trial on CVD health in rural Kentucky. To assess gender differences in smoking history, χ2 was used. Independent t tests compared the mean between participants 50 years or younger and those older than 50 years with differences in body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, hemoglobin A1C, total cholesterol, and physical activity. A multivariate linear regression analysis assessed variables predicting the outcome of health perception. Results: Most participants had a mean BMI of 33 kg/m2 and 94.3% of men used smokeless tobacco compared to 5.7% of the women. Differences existed between gender and current, ever, or never smoked (P < .001). Women had higher total cholesterol levels but men had higher waist circumference. Participants older than 50 years had higher engagement in physical activity than did those 50 years or younger. Higher BMI and hemoglobin A1C level were significant predictors of worse health perception (P ≤ .05). For every unit increase in the physical activity scale, there was a 0.2-unit improvement in health perception (P ≤ .001). Conclusion: Appalachians from Kentucky have many CVD risk factors. Minimal engagement in preventative measures against CVD can worsen patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1-E8
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Nursing
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2020


  • Appalachian region
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • perception
  • rural health


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