September 18, 2017
A research team from the University of New England Department of Exercise and Sport Performance is promoting cardiovascular health awareness in children while researching their cardiovascular risk factors.
The Cardiovascular Health Intervention Program (CHIP) has been an ongoing, five-year funded research project at UNE working with children and parents in the Biddeford and Buxton communities. The funding, totaling $442,110, came from Clark Charitable Foundation in Bethesda, Maryland and the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Binghamton University in New York.
The project is a combination of research, service learning and community outreach in which undergraduate students from across the university have helped in assessing children’s cardiovascular risk factors each semester. To date, approximately 750 children have participated in this program and a number of manuscripts have been accepted for publication.
Most recently, the Journal of Pediatrics has published an article titled, “The Relationship between Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) Risk Factors and Carotid Intima-Media Thickness in Children.” In a sub-set of children, an ultrasound image was taken of each child’s carotid arteries to measure their carotid intima media thickness (CIMT), which is a non-invasive assessment to get an indication of one’s vascular health which was compared to the child’s CAD risk factors. This research showed that children 10 years of age with two or more CVD risk factors had a significant increase in their CIMT. Major risk factors associated with increased CIMT were obesity and low HDL-C (the good cholesterol). The findings from this study would suggest that assessing CIMT in children that may be at risk could potentially provide the incentive for families to make positive lifestyle changes as it pertains to healthy food choices and physical activity.
This research was completed under the direction of Paul Visich, Ph.D., M.P.H., ACSM C-CEP, department chair. Major research associates included UNE student Dan White ’17, who received a Westbrook College of Health Professions Summer Research Fellowship to work on the project, and Rebecca Place ’10, who served as CHIP project coordinator.
To learn more about the University of New England’s Westbrook College of Health Professions visit www.une.edu/wchp
To apply, visit www.une.edu/admissions