WVU CARDIAC Project Recognized Nationally
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has selected the West Virginia University Coronary Artery Risk Detection in Appalachian

Communities (CARDIAC) Project as a national Innovation in Prevention Award winner. 

The award is given to organizations that create and implement effective ways to address chronic diseases and promote healthier lifestyles.  The award was presented to WVU Pediatric Cardiologist William Neal, M.D., this week during the Innovation in Prevention Award Luncheon in Washington, D.C. 

 William Neal, M.D.

Dr. Neal created the CARDIAC project in 1998 as a way to address the prevalence of heart disease among West Virginians.  West Virginia has one of the highest death rates from heart disease in the country. 

“The CARDIAC project uses innovative technologies to promote better nutrition and physical activity,” said Dr. Neal.  “The result has been a recent leveling-off or decreasing slightly of the childhood obesity rate in West Virginia.” 

The project has screened more than 52,000 children, more than 1,300 adolescents and 600 school personnel.  About one percent of children screened turn out to have a strong predisposition to heart disease.   

The CARDIAC project surveys school-aged children and school staff to see if they have risk factors for heart disease and identifies children who are at higher risk for developing heart disease earlier in life because of their family history.  Parents of children identified as high risk are also screened for free.  Screening involves answering a questionnaire, determining an individual’s body mass index (height to weight ratio) and in some cases testing cholesterol levels.

CARDIAC prevention efforts include a web program that teaches children about nutrition, exercise and tobacco avoidance.  An after school program is also offered in two counties for children who are obese.  This eight to 12-week intervention method involves educating children about the importance of proper nutrition and physical activity.   

“Bill Neal is one of the very few true pediatric pioneers, someone that saw the future many years ago that is today CARDIAC,” said Giovanni Piedimonte, M.D., chair of the WVU School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics.  “This, along with other recent recognitions, could not be more deserved to crown his already illustrious career.”

Since its inception CARDIAC has grown from a small school-based project in three rural West Virginia counties to a multidimensional effort that involves all of the state's 55 counties.

For more information on the WVU CARDIAC project, visit http://www.cardiacwv.org/.

- WVU -

For more information:
Emily Corio, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087
ec: 11-30-07

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