The leading cause of death among black people in the United States is coronary heart disease, accounting for about 25 percent of the deaths. The Task Force on Black and Minority Health formed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in 1985 subsequently recommended increased efforts to reduce risk factors for coronary heart disease in the black population. A stated focus of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's National Cholesterol Education Program has been that of reaching minority groups. This report describes a pilot cholesterol education program conducted in black churches by trained members of those churches. Cholesterol screening, using a Reflotron, and other coronary heart disease risk factor screening was conducted in six churches with predominantly black members and at a neighborhood library. A total of 348 persons with cholesterol levels of 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg per dl) or higher were identified. At the time of screening, all were provided brief counseling on lowering their cholesterol and were given a copy of the screening results. Half of those identified, all members of one church, were invited to attend a 6-week nutrition education class of 1 hour each week about techniques to lower blood cholesterol. Information about cholesterol was also mailed to them. They were designated as the education group. Persons in the church were trained to teach the classes. A report of the screening results was sent to the personal physicians of the remaining 174 people in other churches who had cholesterol levels of 200 mg per dl or higher. This group served as a usual care comparison group. Six months after the initial screening, members of both groups were invited for followup screening. Among the 75 percent of the education group who returned for followup screening there was a 23.4 mg per dl (10 percent) decrease in the mean cholesterol level. Thirty-six percent of the usual care group returned for followup screening; their mean cholesterol level had decreased 38.7 mg per dl (16 percent). In this study, the support of churches provided access to large numbers of people. The mean serum cholesterol reductions occurring with both screening and referral and screening and education were statistically significant and large enough to be of clinical importance. The authors recommend that the approach taken in this study be investigated further by the National Cholesterol Education Program as a model for reaching the black population with coronary heart disease risk reduction programs.
|Number of pages
|Public Health Reports
|Published - Jan 1 1990
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health