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Prev Med. 1996 Jan-Feb;25(1):61-2.

Can risk factor modification reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in minority populations?

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Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, Howard University Hospital, Washington, DC 20060, USA.


It appears that landmark epidemiological studies have shown that certain conditions and/or environmental factors to increased risk for developing certain diseases, in this instance cardiovascular diseases. These conditions have been labeled risk factors, so it appears that many of the variables, i.e., risk factors, which lead to diseases have been identified. Since many of them are alterable, they could be altered in a favorable direction. Thus, the future should consist of education and dissemination of information/knowledge which could result in a reduction in the risk for the development of cardiovascular diseases as well as a decrease in its incidence and prevalence in minority populations. Special techniques should be used so that the information is available to citizens of all socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. Education may be the best way to approach this complex issue, e.g., obesity as a risk factor for diabetes and hypertension. Obesity is an alterable risk factor and perhaps not an independent one. It is probably interrelated with socioeconomic and cultural factors, which would make it a product of multiple factors which have led it to being considered an independent risk factor. It is, therefore, necessary to develop special techniques to investigate methods to identify the contribution of various components to the development of a risk factor. This could enable us to develop a solution for either improving or removing the factors that lead to the development of a risk factor. One example of this would be to become knowledgeable about the correct types of food to eat, the proper preparation and consumption of these foods, and the level of exercise or activity needed to burn appropriate calories in order to prevent obesity. It is not the obesity per se that is the etiology for a specific condition or disease, it is a combination of the influence of the environmental, cultural, and socioeconomic factors in conjunction with the resultant end product, obesity, that is the etiology for the conditions or diseases associated with it. Senators and other government agents should strongly encourage people to employ techniques to reduce risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, i.e., insurance companies should pay for training, educational sessions, and participation in activities/programs which are aimed at informing or instructing the public on how to reduce risk factors. This would be a preventive approach for medical conditions and would be much better than waiting until conditions requiring pharmacological or surgical intervention develop. The health care reform bill should have a built-in component to promote techniques and methodologies to reduce the probability of developing medical conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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