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Am J Prev Med. 1998 Aug;15(2):139-45.

Dietary intervention for cholesterol reduction in public clinic patients.

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Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.



To test the feasibility and effectiveness of a diet intervention (consisting of interactive mailings, computer-generated phone calls, and classes) in hypercholesterolemic low-income public clinic patients.


Clinic patients with serum cholesterol > 200 mg/dl, referred by their primary care physician were randomized to a 6-month special intervention (SI) or usual care (UC). The intervention included mailings, computer phone calls, and four 1-hour classes. Serum total cholesterol (TC) was measured before and after intervention, and participation was monitored.


One hundred sixty-five of the 212 patients referred (77.8%) agreed to participate. A medical records review revealed 123 (74.5%) met eligibility criteria. Eligible subjects had a mean age of 56.7 years, 80.0% were African American, 74.8% were female, 33.6% were married, and 89.4% had a high school or lower education. Subjects were randomized with 80.5% (99) completing follow-up cholesterol measures. SI subjects were encouraged to use all three components, with 84.6% (55 of 65) actively participating in at least one component. Seventy-two percent (47 of 65) returned at least one mailing, 49.1% (28 of 57) of those with touch-tone phones accessed the computer system, and 43.1% (28 of 65) attended classes. The TC in SI decreased from 273.2 mg/dl to 265.0 mg/dl (P = 0.05) and in UC 272.4 mg/dl to 267.6 mg/dl (P = 0.32). The net reduction in SI compared with UC was 3.4 mg/dl (P = 0.58).


(1) Low-income public clinic patients will participate in diet interventions, (2) computer-generated interactive phone calls are feasible in this population, and (3) clinically meaningful decreases in serum cholesterol are difficult to achieve with interventions of practical intensity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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