Blood pressure campaign changing behaviour
29 April 2014, 5:23PM
Stroke Foundation of New Zealand
Four out of ten people who took part in the Stroke Foundation’s annual blood pressure awareness campaign say they are taking action to control their blood pressure as a result. That is the startling finding of a follow up survey of participants who had their blood pressure tested in the October 2013 event.
“Normally it’s quite difficult for most health promotion campaigns to produce behaviour change,” said Stroke Foundation Health Promotion Manager Julia Rout on publishing the campaign evaluation report. “Improvements in people’s understanding or knowledge are common, but getting people to take action to improve their health is the Holy Grail of health promotion. Even if we can’t be certain everyone is really making changes this survey certainly shows that the messages about blood pressure and stroke are getting through to a high proportion of participants in our campaign.”
Nearly 20,000 shoppers had their blood pressure tested on 5 October 2013 at 168 different sites, mostly New World or PAK’nSAVE supermarkets. The tests were carried out by St John volunteers, assisted by Rotary. Wellington Free Ambulance volunteers also took part in the Wellington region for the first time.
A random sample of 367 shoppers who had their blood pressure tested were contacted nine weeks later and quizzed about the campaign. They were asked “Are you taking any action as a result of your blood pressure reading, or the information you received?” Forty per cent said they were.
The number of people who could recall their last blood pressure reading, or at least whether it was high or low, also increased for the third year in succession, rising from just 13 per cent in 2011 to 28 per cent in 2013.
“It’s really encouraging to see that the campaign is making an impact,” continued Julia Rout. “The aim is to encourage people to check their blood pressure regularly, know what their reading is, and understand the relationship between high blood pressure and stroke. More than 8 out of 10 participants said they understood that high blood pressure was a major risk factor for stroke. Even if we are cautious about what people say about their behaviour, taken together with the findings on recall of last test it still shows just how worthwhile this activity is.”
Invitations are being sent to all Foodstuffs supermarkets this week to participate in the 2014 campaign scheduled for Saturday 4 October.