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Marywood Dietetic Intern
Chester County Foodbank

Objective: Complete a Health Related report on the prevalence of a major health issue in your area
using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

Health Report for: Hypertension as it relates to Heart Disease in Chester County, PA

A. Introduction/Background:
This report assesses the severity of how many adults are living with heart disease and how
hypertension relates to the development of this disease. The data presented in this report shows
individuals who have been diagnosed with heart disease and their high blood pressure status in the
Chester County area. Heart disease is a major contributor to deaths in Chester County responsible
for 25% of fatalities in each age group.

B. Summary of Existing Data, including graphs, etc.
The rate of deaths due to heart disease increases with age.
The rate of deaths due to cardiovascular disease is lower in Chester County than in Pennsylvania.
Males in Chester County had a higher rate of deaths due to heart disease (217.1) compared to
females (170.3). (see graph below)
The rate of deaths due to heart disease for black men in Chester County (267.8) was higher than for
White men (213.7). Similarly, the rate of deaths from heart disease for Black women in Chester
County (260.8) was higher than for White women (166.0).

C. Demographics: Senior citizens living in Chester County. Currently, all Meals on Wheels participants
must be homebound, handicapped or recovering from an illness or operation where they are unable
to prepare their own meals. Specifically, Chester County includes: Avon Grove, BradLin, Coatesville,
Coventryville, Downingtown, East Coventry, East Pike land, Glen Springs, Goshen Town, Honey
Brook, Kennett Square, Luther House, NORCO, Oxford, Parkesburg, Phoenixville, Spring City,
Uwchian and West Chester.

D. Problem Description: Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, is an umbrella term for
various heart conditions that include diseased vessels, structural problems, and blood clots. The
most common include: coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, cardiac arrest or congestive
heart failure. Symptoms may include chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness or numbness in legs
or arms or pain in the neck, jaw, throat etc. Risk factors are attributed to ones age, sex, family
history, smoking, dietary choices, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity or stress. In addition, high
blood pressure can lead to hardening or thickening of ones arteries, which narrows the vessels
where blood flows through. This is just one example of why heart health is of the upmost important
especially with age.

E. Community Resources:





F. Recommendations: Provide Meals on Wheels customers with low sodium, heart healthy meal
options on weekends, keeping in mind not to exceed 1,500 mg of sodium per day. Provide them
with a recipe book that contains meals with 5 ingredients or less for them to prepare on days
without meal delivery. All recipes included in the recipe book contain less than 700 mg per meal.
Refer to Weekend Food for Thought, a visually appealing book with 2 lunch options, 4 dinner
options and 2 snack/dessert options.