SPRY Foundation - Setting Priorities for Retirement Years

10 G Street, NE, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20002-4215


Lona Choi
E-mail: choil@ncpssm.org


For immediate release:

July 16, 2003

"Putting the Squeeze on High Blood Pressure"
In Akron, Indianapolis and St. Louis

Washington, DC, July 16, 2003
An innovative new educational program is being pilot tested among hundreds of children and older adults in four states to help increase their awareness of the causes and prevention of high blood pressure. This is a three-part program which involves reaching out to parents and grandparents from the schools using the curriculum, older adults in OASIS centers, and older adults and children in intergenerational workshops.

Consisting of a set of coordinated teaching activities, ‘Putting the Squeeze on High Blood Pressure’ was developed by The SPRY (Setting Priorities for Retirement Years) Foundation (www.spry.org) under a contract awarded in 2002 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) (www.nhlbi.nih.gov). Ann Benbow, Ph.D., Director of Adult Learning and Technology at the SPRY Foundation, and the Principal Investigator for the program, designed the teaching modules. Testing has been completed among 377 students in five middle schools in Akron (OH), Indianapolis and St. Louis, and awaits conclusion in two additional middle schools, located in Prince Georges County, Maryland.

“The results are very encouraging,” said Russell E. Morgan, Jr., Dr. P.H., president of Washington, DC-based SPRY. “‘Putting the Squeeze on High Blood Pressure’ seems to be a very effective intergenerational teaching tool to help young people, their parents and grandparents learn how to recognize and control or even prevent high blood pressure, a major health problem in America.”

Participating teachers first were trained in the program’s various activities, including learning about the circulatory system, making and testing a model of an artery, and preventing high blood pressure through lifestyle adjustments, such as changes in nutrition and exercise.

“Putting the Squeeze on High Blood Pressure” has been incorporated by the OASIS Institute, of St. Louis, Missouri, into its HealthStages comprehensive health education program to help older adults engage in healthy lifestyles. Participants are learning about how medications work, how to make lifestyle changes, the role of diet and salt intake, and improving doctor-patient relationships. The OASIS Institute, with the guidance of the SPRY Foundation and the Putting the Squeeze on High Blood Pressure program’s Advisory Committee, developed the high blood pressure module for older adults. The program has been piloted in St. Louis and will be offered in the fall at OASIS Centers in Akron and Indianapolis. OASIS centers in Washington, D.C., Oklahoma City, Los Angeles and Portland (OR) also are scheduled to test the program by the end of the year.

Omron Healthcare, Inc., a global distributor of instruments for patient care, has been a major contributor to “Putting the Squeeze on High Blood Pressure,” donating digital blood pressure monitors and a supply of aneroid sphygmomanometers and stethoscopes for project participants. This enabled the student participants to learn how to use a blood pressure monitor. Students used the data from the monitors to understand how to find their optimal range.

The SPRY (Setting Priorities for Retirement Years) Foundation is a nonprofit research and education group based in Washington, D.C., dedicated to helping people age successfully. SPRY focuses on four major domains, including financial security, health and wellness, mental health, and intellectual pursuits. The OASIS Institute is a nonprofit education organization dedicated to a mission of enriching the lives of older adults in 26 U.S. communities. OASIS offers classes and activities in four focus areas: the arts and humanities, volunteer opportunities, technology, and health and wellness.

For more information, please contact Lona Choi, SPRY Project Manager, at 202-216-8467 or choil@ncpssm.org, or Jocelyn Tobnick, National HealthStages Director, OASIS Institute, at 314-862-2933, ext. 237 or jtobnick@oasisnet.org. For more information about the SPRY Foundation, visit the SPRY web site at www.spry.org. To learn more about the OASIS Institute, link to www.oasisnet.org.


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