May 1990

A Public Health Model for Cardiovascular Risk ReductionImpact of Cholesterol Screening With Brief Nonphysician Counseling

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University School of Public Health (Drs Gemson and Messeri), the Behavioral Medicine Program (Dr Sloan), and the Department of Medicine, College of Physicians and Surgeons (Dr Goldberg), Columbia University, New York, NY.

Arch Intern Med. 1990;150(5):985-989. doi:10.1001/archinte.1990.00390170043011

• To examine the impact of cholesterol screening with brief nonphysician counseling on cardiovascular risk factors, 886 employees at a large financial services firm underwent finger-stick screening followed by brief (3- to 5- minute) counseling by a registered nurse. At the 6-month follow-up, there were significant declines in total cholesterol levels (5.9 to 5.5 mmol/L [228 to 213 mg/dL]), weight (78 to 75 kg), blood pressure (119/78 to 115/75 mm Hg), and number of people reporting smoking (16.8% to 14.5%) among participants with a baseline cholesterol value of 5.2 mmol/L (200 mg/dL) or greater. A randomized experiment was conducted on 137 participants initially classified as having a "borderline—high blood cholesterol" level (5.2 to 6.2 mmol/L [200 to 239 mg/dL]) to test the impact of frequency of follow-up. Those receiving frequent follow-up (cholesterol measurement and brief counseling at 2, 4, and 6 months) reported significantly greater dietary change and demonstrated a trend toward greater declines in total cholesterol compared with those receiving follow-up at 6 months only. The results of this study support the feasibility and efficacy of cholesterol screening utilizing brief nonphysician counseling on multiple cardiovascular risk factors and suggest an enhanced effect when patients receive more frequent follow-up.

(Arch Intern Med. 1990;150:985-989)