Knowledge and perceptions of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and the relationship to self-reported data
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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Purpose: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the UK and the greatest cause of death in Europe. CVD is caused by a clustering of risk factors including sedentary lifestyles, hypertension, obesity, smoking and age. Method: These risk factors were explored in a sample of women from South Wales, comparing their knowledge and perceptions of CVD and their own physiology, using a questionnaire. Results: As no relationship was found between knowledge and CVD risks, this suggests that knowledgeable women may not apply this knowledge in their everyday lives (e.g. exercise and diet). Moreover, women’s perception of their own physiology was often inaccurate, as many women who were normal weight perceived themselves to be overweight while many overweight women perceiving themselves to be a healthy weight. Conclusion: The self-perception of women affects their ability to use their knowledge to protect themselves against CVD. As even if knowledge was high, behaviours were not changed to reduce CVD. Women in this sample had high risk factors such as overweight/obesity, hypertension, cholesterol and inactivity.
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