Middle-aged women's awareness of cholesterol as a risk factor: Results from a national survey of Korean Middle-aged Women's Health Awareness (KomWHA) study

Eun Jin Choi, Yoonsuk Jekal, Sue Kim, Ji Soo Yoo, Hee Soon Kim, Eui Geum Oh, Justin Y. Jeon, Yangsoo Jang, Sang Hui Chu, Mi Ja Kim

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Background: Dyslipidemia, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), is more prevalent in middle-aged women than in men of the same age in Korea. This study, the first national survey that focused on cholesterol in Korean women, aimed to: (1) assess their awareness and knowledge of cholesterol, (2) evaluate their risk reduction behavior, and (3) examine differences in these variables among geographical regions in Korea. Methods: A questionnaire survey study was conducted in a randomly selected national sample of 1304 Korean women, aged 40-64 years in 3 geographic regions. Results: High cholesterol was identified as a cause of CVD by 54.4% of respondents, however, 95.4% did not know their own values. Only 4.1% of respondents were aware of desirable level of total cholesterol. Eight percent of respondents perceived correctly the meaning of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) as good cholesterol. And 32.9% had cholesterol check at least once a year. No significant regional differences were found in women's awareness and knowledge on cholesterol. No smoking (93.6%), low salt diet (52.5%) and weight management (50.6%) were the most prevalent risk reduction behaviors. Women in the rural area performed less risk reduction behaviors than those in urban area. Conclusions: Given the low level of awareness and knowledge about cholesterol in these women, nurses need to increase their education about cholesterol and risk reduction behaviors of CVD for middle-aged Korean women, particularly those in rural area. To resolve identified disparities in women's risk reduction behaviors between the rural and urban area, a national-level health policy can result in a successful effort to promote women's awareness of cholesterol and risk reduction behaviors for the cardiovascular health of the public.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-460
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Apr

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the 2005 Health Promotion Research Fund from the Ministry of Health and Welfare of Korea . We appreciate the support of Lori Mosca, MD, PhD, in sharing the instruments used in the American Heart Association national survey on women and cardiovascular health. Conflicts of interest

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nursing(all)


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