Abstract W P153: HEALS Hypertension Control Program for Stroke Prevention in African American Communities
Stroke is the 4th leading cause of death and a leading cause of severe, long-term disability in US. African Americans (AAs) are at an elevated risk for cerebrovascular diseases. An approach of proven efficacy is to target a major modifiable risk factor for stroke, hypertension (HTN), and to do so using lifestyle changes (i.e., diet and exercise). The objective of this study was to implement and assess the efficacy of an evidence-based, socio-culturally tailored, lifestyle intervention called HEALS (Healthy Eating And Living Spiritually) adopted and modified from PREMIER and DASH studies in AA churches in Northeast Florida.
Methods: 3- months HEALS program was delivered by trained church members to the high risk church members who were; a) church parishioners 25-75 years; and b) newly or known diagnosed with HTN/pre-HTN as per JNC-7 criteria. The outcomes were analyzed using ANOVA and Wilcoxon rank tests.
Results: Of the 36 eligible, 32 (90%) provided complete information on outcomes and were included in the analysis. At baseline, 15 (42%) participants were pre-HTN, 9 (25%) had Stage 1 HTN, and 12 (33%) had Stage 2 HTN. Retention of 89% was observed at the end of 3- month HEALs intervention. After the completion of the 3-months intervention, the mean reduction in systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP) were 6.72mmHg (p=.0425) and 4.00 mmHg (p=.0073), respectively. A mean weight reduction of 1.7 kg was also significant (p=0.0023). Further, positive trends in healthy eating occurred for the majority of the participants (60%), more than half consumed dark green or other vegetables frequently, while 75% consumed at least one fruit daily or weekly. Lower percentages (44%) reported consumption of 100% fruit juices or cooked beans regularly.
Conclusion: The study provided much-needed information on the translation and sustainability of evidence-based lifestyle modification in community-based settings, particularly within churches, which represent the most influential institution in the community lives of AA. HEALS program can serve as a cost-effective model for stroke prevention. Future longitudinal randomized controlled studies on HEALS effectiveness are needed.
Author Disclosures: S. Dodani: None. S. Arora: None. D. Kraemer: None.
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.