Journal Article

The Dutch Heart Health community intervention ‘Hartslag Limburg’: results of an effect study at individual level

Gaby Ronda, Patricia Van Assema, Math Candel, Erik Ruland, Mieke Steenbakkers, Jan Van Ree and Johannes Brug

in Health Promotion International

Volume 19, issue 1, pages 21-31
Published in print March 2004 | ISSN: 0957-4824
Published online March 2004 | e-ISSN: 1460-2245 | DOI:
The Dutch Heart Health community intervention ‘Hartslag Limburg’: results of an effect study at individual level

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‘Hartslag Limburg’ (Dutch for Heartbeat Limburg), a regional cardiovascular diseases (CVD) prevention program, integrates a community strategy and a high-risk strategy to reduce CVD risk behaviors. The present paper focuses on the effects of the community intervention on fat intake and physical activity. The project was based on community organization principles and health education theories and methods. In order to implement the intervention, nine local Health Committees were set up, each organizing activities that facilitate and encourage people to adopt a healthier lifestyle. A pre-test–post-test control group design with two post-tests was used to evaluate the intervention. At baseline, representative random cohort research samples were selected in the Maastricht region and in a control region. Data on fat intake and physical activity, and on the psychosocial determinants of these behaviors, were gathered by means of mail surveys. The present study indicates that the intervention had a significant effect on fat reduction, especially among respondents aged ≤48 years (median age). Respondents in the Maastricht region were also more realistic about their fat intake at post-test as compared with the control region. Only a limited effect on intentions to increase physical activity was found.

Keywords: cardiovascular diseases; community-based prevention; evaluation

Journal Article.  5653 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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