Date of Award:

1979

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Department name when degree awarded

Nutrition and Food Sciences

Advisor/Chair:

Deloy G. Hendricks

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of socio- viii demographic characteristics, knowledge of coronary heart disease and behavior variables on blood cholesterol concentration among 218 selected subjects in northern Utah connnunities.

The data were obtained from physicians' medical charts and a survey specifically designed for this study. A model was developed from an intensive review of literature and the current state of theoretical and empirical knowledge and was tested by means of path analysis. The model contained fourteen variables including familial coronary heart disease heredity, sex, age, the presence of disease(s), educational attainment, special dietary regimen, occupation, knowledge about coronary heart disease, Type A/B behavior patterns, attitude toward low-fat, low-cholesterol diets, saturated fat calorie intake, energy expenditure, relative body weight, and blood cholesterolconcentration. The model was evaluated for the entire sample as well as two subsamples of males and females.

It was found that there was a strong causal relationship between the level of education and knowledge about coronary heart disease (CHD), and between its knowledge and attitude toward low-fat, low-cholesterol diets (less atherogenic diets). Furthermore, it was observed that a favorable positive attitude toward low-fat, low-cholesterol diets served directly to decrease the relative body weight. On the other hand, estimated expenditure of total energy was increased with increasing knowledge about coronary heart disease and in physically active occupations. There was a negative association between the estimated total energy expenditure and blood cholesterol concentration, while a weak positive relationship of relative body weight and saturated fat intake on cholesterol concentration in the blood was observed.

Not only knowledge about coronary heart disease had a direct influence on attitude, but also age had a positive causal effect on attitude toward low-fat, low-cholesterol diets. The direct association of familial coronary heart disease heritability on blood cholesterol concentration was the strongest among other variables, followed by special diets, age, total energy expenditure, and saturated fat intake.

About 28% of the variations in the blood cholesterol concentration among the entire sample could be explained by eleven variables combined compared with 36% for females and 23% for males.

It was shown in the likelihood ratio test that the influence of social and demographic characteristics, knowledge about coronary heart disease, and behavior variables on blood cholesterol concentration was not significantly different between male and female samples.

In conclusion, this research suggests the direction and magnitude of causal relationships between socio-demographic characteristics, knowledge of coronary heart disease and behavior variables and serum cholesterol concentration. Therefore, the findings of this study indicate the potential value of educational programs for the coronary heart disease prevention.

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