Behavioral outcomes of an educational program for male veterans with peripheral artery disease
McCoy, Sally Vaughn
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Peripheral artery disease (PAD) affects 8 to 12 million Americans. Untreated PAD results in leg pain, decreased quality of life, and amputation of the legs. Walking has been shown to improve functional impairment and decrease pain among persons with PAD. This study describes a two-group randomized trial that assesses the effectiveness of an educational program, “Vet Walk,” on change in walking distance and health outcomes. The intervention is based on Pender's Health Promotion Model. Fifty male veterans with PAD completed the Health-Promoting Lifestyle Profile II (HPLP II) and 6-Minute Walk test and were randomly assigned to a control group or an intervention group who attended “Vet Walk.” Both groups completed testing at 8 weeks post-intervention. Outcome variables were statistically analyzed for differences between the intervention and control groups. The adjusted mean distance walked in the 6-Minute Walk test for the intervention group increased from 875.5 ft to 1095.5 ft, while the control group increased its adjusted mean walking distance from 826.7 ft to 848.3 ft at 8 weeks, which was a statistically significant difference. There were no statistically significant differences in HPLP II total scores and physical activity subscale scores between the intervention and control group. Although pain decreased in the intervention group, the change was not statistically significant. Among this sample of veterans diagnosed with PAD, the education intervention, “Vet Walk,” proved effective in increasing distance walked and, although not statistically significant, decreasing pain experienced over an 8-week period.