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01-04-2011 | Uitgave 2/2011 Open Access

Journal of Behavioral Medicine 2/2011

Health behavior modification after electron beam computed tomography and physician consultation

Journal of Behavioral Medicine > Uitgave 2/2011
Jennifer Schwartz, Mathew Allison, C. Michael Wright


This study aimed to determine whether participants reported altering health behaviors (physical activity, diet, and alcohol consumption) after seeing results from an electron-beam computed tomography (EBCT) scan for coronary artery calcium and reviewing these results with a physician. Clinicians attempt to motivate patients to control cardiovascular risk factors by adopting healthy behaviors and reducing harmful actions. Asymptomatic patients (N = 510) were evaluated by EBCT for the extent of coronary artery calcium. Information pertaining to demographics, health history, and lifestyle/health behaviors was obtained from each participant at the time of the EBCT scan. Patients were given their numerical calcium score, shown images of their coronary arteries, and counseled by a physician for lifestyle and medical risk modification based on their coronary artery calcium score. Approximately 6 years after the scan, participants completed a follow-up questionnaire related to lifestyle modifications. In multivariable analysis, the presence and extent of coronary artery calcium was significantly associated with beneficial health behavior modifications. Specifically, the greater a patient’s coronary artery calcium score, the more likely they were to report increasing exercise (odds ratio = 1.34, P = 0.02), changing diet (odds ratio = 1.40, P < 0.01), and changing alcohol intake (odds ratio = 1.46, P = 0.05). This study suggests that seeing and being counseled on the presence and extent of coronary artery calcium is significantly associated with behavior change.

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