Abstract 18648: Heart Healthy Living: A Community-Based, Tailored Educational Program to Improve the Cardiovascular Knowledge and Health of African American Women
Background: Low health literacy is a potential contributor to poor cardiovascular outcomes. Health literacy is lowest among the elderly, racial/ethnic minorities, those with low education level, the uninsured, and the publicly insured.
African American (AA) women suffer from a disproportionate burden of CV risk factors (RF) and low health literacy. We developed a community-based, tailored health education, nutrition, and exercise program, Heart Healthy Living (HHL) to address the unique challenges in AA women.
Methods: HHL consisted of a 6-week program to improve the CV health literacy of AA women aged 18 years or older with at least one CV risk factor. The program consisted of weekly tailored CV health education and exercise classes. In weeks 1 and 6, participants completed a validated Heart Disease Knowledge Questionnaire, blood pressure and weight were checked.
Results: Participants included 32 AA women with an average age of48 years. Participants had high rates of hypertension (55%) and obesity (68%). Participants experienced an age-adjusted weekly weight loss of 0.5 lbs and an age-adjusted total weight loss of 2.7 lbs (p<0.001). There was a 40% relative decline in rates of HTN after completion of the program. At baseline, participants scored <50% on the validated Heart Disease Knowledge Questionnaire; however after completion of the program this improved significantly (Figure).
Conclusion: We found that a tailored health education and exercise program resulted in improved CV health literacy in AA Women. Our data suggests an intensive CV education and exercise program, improved health literacy disparities and CV RF in AA women. Larger and longer studies of HHL are ongoing to determine whether these results are replicable and sustainable.
- © 2013 by American Heart Association, Inc.