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Prev Med. 2000 Oct;31(4):370-9.

Cardiovascular disease risk factor intervention in low-income women: the North Carolina WISEWOMAN project.

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Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 27514, USA.



The North Carolina WISEWOMAN project was initiated to evaluate the feasibility of expanding an existing cancer screening program to include a cardiovascular disease (CVD) screening and intervention program among low-income women.


Seventeen North Carolina county health departments were designated as minimum intervention (MI), and 14 as enhanced intervention (EI). The EI included three specially constructed counseling sessions spanning 6 months using a structured assessment and intervention program tailored to lower income women.


Of the 2,148 women screened, 40% had elevated total cholesterol (> or = 240 mg/dL), 39% had low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels (< 45 mg/dL), and 63% were hypertensive (systolic blood pressure 140 and/or diastolic blood pressure > or = 90 mm Hg or on hypertensive medication). The majority of women (86%) had at least one of these three risk factors. Seventy-six percent were either overweight or obese. After 6 months of follow-up in the EI health departments, changes in total cholesterol levels, HDL-C levels, diastolic blood pressure, and BMI were observed (-5.8 mg/dL, -0.9 mg/dL, -1.7 mm Hg, and -0.3 kg/m(2), respectively), but were not significantly different from MI health departments. A dietary score that summarized fat and cholesterol intake improved by 2.1 units in the EI group, compared with essentially no change in the MI group.


Expanding existing cancer screening programs to include CVD intervention was feasible and may be an effective means for promoting healthful dietary practices among low-income women.

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