CDC Study Shows Over One Third of U.S. Adults Are Eligible to Receive Intensive Behavioral Counseling Services for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention
Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. In a new study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers found that about one third of U.S. adults are eligible to receive covered services for intensive behavioral counseling to promote a healthful diet and physical activity for cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention.
The report used data from the 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Based on recommendations from the 2014 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), respondents were defined as eligible for counseling services if they were overweight or obese and had one or more CVD risk factor (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or impaired fasting glucose levels).
Among U.S. states and DC, the prevalence of eligibility ranged from 29.0% to 44.6%. It was also higher among men, black non-Hispanics, older adults, and in southern states. Researchers also found that of those eligible adults, over half did not meet the aerobic physical activity guideline as stated in the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the United States. Health care professionals have a role in counseling patients about physical activity, which can help prevent CVD among persons with risk factors, such as hypertension, high cholesterol, or impaired fasting glucose.
Despite this, many health care professionals face barriers to providing related counseling services including a lack of time, limited patient receptiveness, lack of payment, and limited counselingexperience or training. The Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) preventive services requirement might help lessen some of these barriers by requiring most health plans to cover evidence-based preventive services with a USPSTF rating of “A” or “B”. The USPSTF recommendation for intensive behavioral counseling for CVD prevention received a “B” rating, making it eligible for coverage and improving the potential for implementation.
The USPSTF recommendation and increased coverage by the ACA could benefit a third of the U.S adult population, especially those who did not meet the aerobic physical activity guideline. Continued monitoring of the recommendation’s target population and implementation, potential barriers, and impact on health behaviors and outcomes will help determine the impact of this recommendation on preventing CVD.