Abstract 615: Healthy Eating And Living Spiritually (HEALS): An Efficacious model for Hypertension Control in American African churches
Background: African Americans (AAs) living in the “Stroke Belt” region are at elevated risk for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) including stroke. Our long-term goal is to eliminate this ethnic/regional health disparity by targeting a major modifiable risk factor for stroke, hypertension (HTN). Besides medications, lifestyle interventions are effective in lowering blood pressure (BP), and the “DASH diet has been shown to lower BP, however, in the PREMIER program, DASH with lifestyle modifications was less effective in AAs with regards to BP reduction. We hereby present a PREMIER modified, faith-based, socio-culturally tailored, multi-level HTN control behavioral intervention called HEALS adopted by AA churches. The objective is to determine the efficacy of HEALS on BP and other related outcomes.
Methods: Based on Community advisory board (CAB) recommendations, a church selected from a pool of 26 participating churches. Trained church leaders enrolled eligible participants and delivered weekly HEALS sessions for 12 weeks. Target population included church members 25-75 years, with known or newly diagnosed HTN/pre-HTN as per JNC-7 classification. Information was obtained on BP, weight, waist circumference, diets and physical activity.
Results: A total of 36 eligible church members were recruited, 32 provided data that was used in this analysis n=32 (89% retention). At baseline, 28 members were known HTN and remaining were newly diagnosed (22%). After the completion of the 12 weeks intervention, the mean reduction in systolic BP (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP) were 6.72mmHg (p=.0425) and 4 mmHg (p=.0073), respectively. A weight reduction of 1.7 Kg was also significant (p=0.0023). Similarly, diet changes were significant and showed that 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. Study is currently in its 6-month maintenance phase.
Conclusion: Under controlled settings, community-based interventions can be successful in producing desirable outcomes and in maintaining high retention rates. HEALS intervention can be used as a model of efficacious program in church settings.
Author Disclosures: S. Dodani: None. S. Arora: None. C. Sealey-Potts: None. C. Christie: None. P.A. Aldridge: None. D. Kraemer: None.
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.