The study evaluated 387 people ranging in age from 45 to 74, over a four-month period. All had been diagnosed with high blood pressure and 72 per cent were taking one or more blood pressure medications.
One group was sent a standard e-newsletter from the Heart and Stroke Foundation, containing heart health information and general tips to manage their health. The second group received eight emails over four months that provided both educational information as well as motivational messages.
Prior to receiving the emails, the second group filled out surveys identifying what they wanted to change about their lifestyle, such as quitting smoking, improving their diet, or being more physically active. The emails then addressed their individual concerns and included tailored suggestions and personal encouragement to help them achieve their goals.
Participants in the study who received these emails recorded approximately double the amount of decrease in blood pressure, compared to subjects who received just the newsletter, Dr. Nolan reported.
"We found the e-counselling was associated with an improvement in both exercise and diet behaviour. The motivational component was therapeutic," said Dr. Nolan. "E-tools to promote healthy lifestyles are becoming an established success it's the way of the future."
He notes that study participants ranged in age from 45 to 70. "This was a powerful tool to provide a connection to some of the older participants who were once isolated," says Dr. Nolan. "Seventy years ago someone would be standing in a doctor's office flash forward to now and people's risks are being reduced in their own homes through the power of e-support."
He says e-counselling may prove to be a cost-efficient way to extend the reach of healthcare programs to people in need, without overtaxing the resource
|Contact: Amanda Bates|
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada