Abstract P040: HEALS Lifestyle intervention through African American churches to control hypertension
Objective: African Americans (AAs) living in the “Stroke Belt” (Southeastern US including Northeast Florida) are at elevated risk for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). An approach of proven efficacy is to target hypertension (HTN) as the major modifiable risk factor for CVDs, and to do so by evidence-based lifestyle changes. Here we present the findings of faith-based socio-culturally tailored HEALS HTN control program (modified from PREMIER and DASH diets), offered to AA church parishioners living in the food dessert areas of Duval County, Florida.
Methods: Large urban church (membership > 400) volunteered for 9-month HEALS program. Four church members were trained as program leaders called CHAs-Church health Advisors, who after 10 hours of receiving training on HEALS session from PREMIER experts delivered weekly HEALS sessions to high-risk church members. 35 church members who were 25-75 year old, self-described AAs and HTN - as defined by JNC-7 were recruited. Farmer Market trucks from Clara White Mission supplied fresh fruits and vegetables (FFVs) at the church. Outcome measures included change in blood pressure (BP), weight and change in consumption of FFVs (measured by increases in purchases).
Results: The study is ongoing. At baseline, 22% members were pre-HTN, 50% had Stage 1 HTN, and 22% with Stage 2 HTN. After receiving 12 wks HEALS program, mean reduction in systolic and diastolic BP were -14.6 mmHg (±14.3, p= 0.0002) and -6 mmHg (± 9.6, p=0.019) respectively. Mean weight reduction was -3.38 Kg (± 2.23, p<0.0001). For the first two months, the total FFVs sales increased from $97.50 in the first month to $117.50 in the second month. Majority of the sale was on fruits such as watermelons (60%).
Conclusion: The translation and sustainability of evidence-based lifestyle modification in community-based settings is possible, particularly within churches, which represent the most influential institution in the community lives of AA
Author Disclosures: S. Dodani: None. S. Arora: None. C. Smotherman: None. D. Kraemer: None.
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.