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Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 Oct;74(4):442-8.

Improvements in circulating cholesterol, antioxidants, and homocysteine after dietary intervention in an Australian Aboriginal community.

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  • 1University of Melbourne, Department of Medicine, St Vincent's Hospital, Fitzroy, VIC, Australia.



Poor nutrition contributes to high rates of coronary heart disease among Australian Aboriginal populations. Since late 1993, the Aboriginal community described here has operated a healthy lifestyle program aimed at reducing the risk of chronic disease.


We evaluated the effectiveness of a community-directed intervention program to reduce coronary heart disease risk through dietary modification.


Intervention processes included store management policy changes, health promotion activities, and nutrition education aimed at high-risk individuals. Dietary advice was focused on decreasing saturated fat and sugar intake and increasing fruit and vegetable intake. Evaluation of the program included conducting sequential, cross-sectional risk factor surveys at 2-y intervals; measuring fasting cholesterol, lipid-soluble antioxidants, and homocysteine concentrations; and assessing smoking status. Nutrient intakes were estimated from analysis of food turnover in the single community store.


There was a significant reduction in the prevalence of hypercholesterolemia (age-adjusted prevalences were 31%, 21%, and 15% at baseline, 2 y, and 4 y, respectively; P < 0.001). There were significant increases in plasma concentrations of alpha-tocopherol, lutein and zeaxanthin, cryptoxanthin, and beta-carotene across the population. Retinol and lycopene concentrations did not change significantly. Mean plasma homocysteine concentrations decreased by 3 micromol/L. There was no significant change in smoking prevalence between the 2 follow-up surveys. There was an increase in the density of fresh fruit and vegetables and carotenoids in the food supply at the community store.


This community-directed dietary intervention program reduced the prevalence of coronary heart disease risk factors related to diet.

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