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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2004 Jun;13(5):569-78.

Heart disease prevention for Alaska Native women: a review of pilot study findings.

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  • 1Southcentral Foundation, Anchorage, Alaska 99508, USA.



Although historically Alaska Native women have had a relatively low incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD), this pattern has changed dramatically in recent years. Alaska Native leaders have identified decreasing cardiovascular risk as an intervention priority.


From October 2000 to April 2001, Southcentral Foundation, an Alaska Native-owned and managed health corporation in Anchorage, conducted a pilot randomized controlled trial of a heart disease prevention program tailored for Alaska Native women. The aim was to assess feasibility and cultural acceptability and to develop enrollment procedures. Of 76 women who enrolled, 44 were randomized to the intervention group. Thirty-seven of 44 attended at least two intervention sessions, 23 completed prequestionnaires and postquestionnaires, and 27 returned for 12-month follow-up screening. Thirty of 32 control group participants returned for 12-month follow-up screening. The intervention included 12 weekly sessions on lifestyle change and goal setting. At baseline and 12 months, participants' height, weight, resting blood pressure, fasting lipid levels, and blood glucose were measured. At sessions 1 and 12, participants completed assessments regarding diet, physical activity, tobacco use, and psychosocial status.


At 12 weeks, significant improvements were noted in moderate walking and physical activity self-efficacy. Also observed was substantial movement from the contemplation and preparation stages to the action stage regarding physical activity and heart-healthy eating.


Although the small sample size precludes drawing conclusions about the intervention's effect, participants reported lifestyle and psychosocial changes. The pilot study resulted in protocol changes that improved the design and implementation of a subsequent large-scale study.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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