The role of a culturally appropriate lifestyle intervention on cardiovascular disease risk in Hispanic adults from El Paso, Texas

Julio Ramirez, University of Texas at El Paso


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) has become a worldwide epidemic in the last decade and is the leading cause of death in the U.S. population, including Hispanics. The objective of this study was to conduct secondary data analyses to assess the impact of a lifestyle intervention on clinical and behavioral measures of Hispanic participants. A 16-week culturally appropriate lifestyle intervention was part of the Health Education and Assessment Research Team - H.E.A.R.T. Project, a community-based participatory research that is framed around the socio-ecological approach and employs Community Health Workers (CHW) to address cardiovascular disease risk factors among Hispanics living in El Paso, Texas. The project was undertaken by a partnership of academic institutions, government and community agencies. The intervention was named My Heart, My Community (Mi Corazón, Mi Communidad - MiCMiC) and consisted of a menu of nutrition and physical activities that were implemented by CHW at partners' agencies. A total of 754 adults' ages 44.6 ± 13.3 years were enrolled in the intervention, but this study only reports on 404 participants. Sociodemographics, clinical (height, weight, waist circumference and blood pressure) and behavioral (self-reported health screenings and lifestyle) information was gathered upon enrollment and four months after the intervention. Statistical analyses to assess intervention effects included descriptive statistics, a two-tailed paired t-test, Bowker's test and McNemar's test. CVD risk factors and CVD risk index (CVDRI), a composite of 11 risk factors for CVD was also analyzed. Eighty-three percent of participants were female, and more than two-thirds reported an annual income below $25,000. Spanish was reported as the language of preference by 82.6% of participants, more than half reported being married and 45% had no health insurance. Results showed significant pre-post differences for all clinical measures, except for systolic blood pressure. Screening behaviors for blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and diabetes were significantly higher after the intervention. In addition a significant increase was noted in the reported consumption of 5 or more fruits and vegetables a day and on engagement in physical activity 30 minutes 3 times a week. CVDRI was also significantly lower after the intervention. Overall results from this study indicate that participants in the MiCMiC intervention decreased their risk of CVD demonstrated by a significant difference between pre-and-post testing clinical measures (BMI, waist circumference, diastolic blood pressure), improvement in self-reported health behaviors (screenings in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, & diabetes, fruit and vegetable consumption, and increased engagement in physical activity) and CVDRI. This lifestyle intervention implemented by CHW may be viewed as a model to reduce CVD risk factors among the Hispanic population.

Subject Area

Public health|Hispanic American studies

Recommended Citation

Ramirez, Julio, "The role of a culturally appropriate lifestyle intervention on cardiovascular disease risk in Hispanic adults from El Paso, Texas" (2013). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1551245.