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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2009 May;18(5):733-9. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2008.0871.

Clinic-based nutrition and lifestyle counseling for Hispanic women delivered by community health workers: design of the California WISEWOMAN study.

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  • 1California Department of Public Health, Cancer Detection Section, MS-7203, P.O. Box 997377, Sacramento, CA 95899-7377, USA.



The Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for Women Across the Nation (WISEWOMAN) program in California, named Heart of the Family, implements and evaluates the effectiveness of lifestyle interventions to improve nutrition and physical activity while reducing cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors among low-income, uninsured or underinsured Hispanic women aged 40-64 who participate in the Cancer Detection Programs: Every Woman Counts (CDP:EWP). This paper reports the study design and baseline findings of the California WISEWOMAN program.


Heart of the Family, a within-site randomized controlled study at four community health centers in Los Angeles and San Diego, featured a unique set of strategies meeting the state population in implementing a California WISEWOMAN program. The program exclusively targeted Hispanic women who are at risk of developing CVD, provided lifestyle intervention using a validated intervention material in Spanish and English to motivate behavioral changes, and used bilingual (English and Spanish) community health workers (CHWs) to provide individually based face-to-face counseling. Women meeting enrollment criteria were randomly assigned either to an enhanced intervention group (EIG), who received lifestyle intervention, or usual care group (UCG), who received the usual care for elevated blood pressure or cholesterol.


A total of 1093 women enrolled between January 2006 and August 2006. Demographic and baseline CVD risk profiles are similar in both groups. Some notable characteristics of the California participants are lower smoking rate (5%), higher average body mass index (BMI) (31.9), and a significantly higher percentage with less than high school education (70%).


With its unique study design and large number of enrolls, Heart of the Family will enable future public health efforts to better meet the health needs of Hispanic women by addressing education levels, economic considerations, and cultural and linguistic needs.

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