Evaluation of HeartSmarts, a Faith-Based Cardiovascular Health Education Program
- 519 Downloads
In order to effectively address cardiovascular disease among African Americans, evidence-based health information must be disseminated within a context aligned with the values and beliefs of the population. Faith-based organizations play a critical role in meeting the religious and spiritual needs of many African Americans. Additionally, faith-based organizations can be effective in health promotion. A manual was created by incorporating biblical scriptures relating to health messages drawn from existing health manuals oriented toward African Americans. Lay health educators active in their churches participated in a 12-week training to learn the basics of cardiovascular disease and methods for delivering the program to their congregations’ members. After the completion of the training, these lay health educators recruited participants from their respective churches and administered their own 12-week HeartSmarts program. Measurements of participants’ systolic and diastolic blood pressure (mmHg), height (in.), weight (lbs.), and waist circumference (in.) were taken, and cardiovascular disease knowledge assessments (based on 20 open-ended questions) were administered at the start and end of the 12-week programs. Fourteen predominantly African American churches in NYC participated. Of the 221 participants, 199 completed the program. There were significant reductions in pretest and posttest total participant averages for systolic BP (4.48 mmHg, p < 0.001), diastolic BP (3.38 mmHg, p < 0.001), weight (3lbs., p = 0.001), and BMI (0.46, p = 0.001). Cardiovascular disease health assessment scores had an average increase of 12.74 correct responses (p < 0.001). The HeartSmarts program may be an effective ecumenical and cultural model for disseminating health messages and reducing cardiovascular risk among African Americans.
KeywordsCardiovascular disease Health education Community Faith-based organizations
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.
- Artinian, N. T., Fletcher, G. F., Mozaffarian, D., et al. (2010). Interventions to promote physical activity and dietary lifestyle changes for cardiovascular risk factor reduction in adults: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 122, 406–441.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Hoyert, D. L., & Xu, J. Q. (2012). Deaths: Preliminary data for 2011. National vital statistics reports, 61(6). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr61/nvsr61_06.pdf.
- Johnson, B. R. (2002). Objective hope: Assessing the effectiveness of faith-based organizations: A review of the literature. New York, NY: Manhattan Institute Publications. Retrieved from http://www.manhattan-institute.org/pdf/crrucs_objective_hope.pdf.
- Kim, K. H., Linnan, L., Campbell, M. K., Brooks, C., Koenig, H. G., & Wiesen, C. (2008). The WORD (wholeness, oneness, righteousness, deliverance): A faith-based weight-loss program utilizing a community-based participatory research approach. Health Education and Behavior, 35(5), 634–650. doi: 10.1177/1090198106291985.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Lasater, T. M., Becker, D. M., Hill, M. N., & Gans, K. M. (1997). Synthesis of findings and issues from religious-based cardiovascular disease prevention trials. Annals of Epidemiology, 7(57), s47–s53.Google Scholar
- Liao, Y., Tucker, P., Okoro, C. A., Giles, W. H., Mokdad, A. H., & Harris, V. B. (2004). REACH 2010 surveillance for health status in minority communities—United States, 2001–2002. MMWR Surveillance Summaries, 53, 1–36.Google Scholar
- Martins, D., Tareen, N., Ogedegbe, G., Pan, D., & Norris, K. (2008). The relative risk of cardiovascular death among racial and ethnic minorities with metabolic syndrome: data from the NHANES-II mortality follow-up. Journal of the National Medical Association, 100, 565–571.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Sundquist, J., Winkleby, M. A., & Pudaric, S. (2001). Cardiovascular disease risk factors among older black, Mexican-American, and white women and men: An analysis of NHANES III, 1988–1994. Third national health and nutrition examination survey. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 49, 109–116.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Tettey, N., Duran, P. A., Andersen, H. S., Washington, N., & Boutin-Foster, C. (2016). “It’s like backing up science with scripture”: Perceptions of HeartSmarts, a faith-based cardiovascular health education program. Journal Religia Health Epubulication,. doi: 10.1007/s10943-016-0196-9.Google Scholar