The Community Studies of the Stanford Heart Disease Prevention Program

  • Nathan Maccoby
  • John W. Farquhar
  • Stephen P. Fortmann
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 84)


In 1971, the Stanford University Heart Disease Prevention Program undertook a three-community study to discover a method for risk reduction that would be generally applicable. (Farquhar et al., 1977; Maccoby et al., 1977). Why did we pick a community as the unit of education for reducing risk of cardiovascular disease? (1) If an individual therapist-instructor is used with either one person at a time or even with a small group of persons, the problem of general risk reduction is just too large to manage. Such an undertaking would be very expensive, and the number of therapist-instructors needed would be astronomically high. (2) Risk reduction involves behavior changes that have a very long-term-even a lifetime—duration. Cessation of smoking or not beginning to smoke cigarettes is behavior that has to last if it is going to make a contribution to the reduction of risk of disease. Similarly, changes in diet involving reductions in dietary cholesterol, saturated fats, salt, and calories generally call for permanent changes in eating habits. (3) These changes need to take place not in the clinic but in the context of people’s environments. Furthermore, the community nexus can contribute greatly to the maintenance of changes in life style. The home, the school, the work place (Meyer and Henderson, 1974) and other community settings are the environments in which such behavior occurs, and therefore it must be practiced there. Furthermore, these institutions are potential sources of support for new behavior, or they can constitute obstacles to such changes (Farquhar, 1978).


Community Study Medium Campaign City Project Community Health Promotion Survey Effect 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nathan Maccoby
  • John W. Farquhar
  • Stephen P. Fortmann

There are no affiliations available

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