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Ethn Dis. 2012 Autumn;22(4):416-21.

Love your heart: a pilot community-based intervention to improve the cardiovascular health of African American women.

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Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death for women, and racial and ethnic minority groups disproportionately suffer from cardiovascular risk factors. We developed an intensive, culturally-tailored 12-week nutrition and physical activity program, Love Your Heart, to reduce cardiovascular risk factors for African American women in the Boston area from January to April 2011. The pilot study partnered an academic institution with two community-based organizations, the Boston Black Women's Health Institute (BBWHI) and Body by Brandy Wellness Center (BBBWC). The study sample consisted of 34 women with a mean age of 48 years (SD +/- 3), with high rates of hypertension (79%), obesity (79%), and elevated waist circumference (94%). Over 12 weeks of follow-up, there were substantial reductions in hypertension and elevated waist circumference. We found that a culturally tailored weight management program reduced weight and cardiovascular risk factors for African American women in an urban community. While small, our study suggests that targeted community-based interventions focusing on personal and group wellness have the power to reduce health disparities and improve cardiovascular health for African American women.

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