Academic journal article ABNF Journal

Lifestyle Management of Cardiovascular Risk Factors in African American Women

Academic journal article ABNF Journal

Lifestyle Management of Cardiovascular Risk Factors in African American Women

Article excerpt

Abstract; African American women have the highest prevalence of obesity in the nation when compared to Caucasian and Hispanic women. The purpose of this project was to evaluate the effect of nutrition education and counseling on weight loss, blood pressure, selfefficacy and perception of power. The project was a 12 week community-based lifestyle intervention program designed to provide counseling and education on increasing physical activity, dietary intake of fruits and vegetables while, decreasing dietary intake salt and fat. The results showed that the women, who engaged in all aspects of the program, were able to lose weight and lower their blood pressure.

Key Words; African American, Lifestyle, Cardiovascular, Nutrition, Health Promotion, Intervention, Obesity, Hypertension, Physical Activity, Counseling.

African American women have the highest prevalence of obesity in the nation when compared to Caucasian and Hispanic women (Ogden, Carroll, Curtin, McDowell, Tabak & Flegal, 2006). Factors influencing obesity, e.g., inconsistent eating patterns, poor diet, and physical inactivity, have been identified as leading contributors to deaths between 1990 and 2000 (Mokdad, Marks, Stroup, & Gerberding, 2004). Overweight and obesity have been identified as risk factors for hypertension, heart disease, dyslipidemia, diabetes, stroke and cancer. The National Institute of Health has defined obesity as a BMI greater than 30 and overweight as a BMI 25 to 29 (www. nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/bmi_tbl.htm). Many predict that this burgeoning of the population's weight will replace smoking as the number one cause of preventable mortality in I the United States (Mokdad et al., 2004).

Lifestyle modification that includes diet, physical activity and behavioral support has been recommended as the first line intervention for obesity treatment (National Collaborating Centre for Primary Care, 2006). In a meta-analysis of eleven studies, Bronner and Boyington (2002) indicated that African American women were less likely than Caucasian women to lose weight and maintain the loss. They reported that African American women preferred meal plans tailored to fit their ethnic food preferences while at the same time, allowing them to lose weight. They also noted that weight modification programs that included strategies such as goal setting, self-monitoring, problem solving and cultural sensitivity were more effective. To reverse the trend toward obesity and overweight in African American women with subsequent adverse health effects such as hypertension, there is a critical need for research-based, culturally appropriate weight loss and blood pressure reduction programs for this at-risk population. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effects of a culturally sensitive lifestyle intervention on blood pressure and weight of a group of African American women in southeast Florida.

REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

A review of the research literature illustrated the need for culturally appropriate lifestyle intervention and self-care management strategies for African American women. According to Peters, Aroian, & Rack (2006), African Americans' self-care health behavior is influenced by cultural norms. Cultural constraints, generational behavioral influences on eating patterns, food choices, and lack of family support were cited as barriers to appropriate and adequate self-care behaviors (Peters et al., 2006). African Americans, in general, found it difficult to initiate and maintain lifestyle modifications and did not have the social support they required for these tasks (Peters et al., 2006; Blixen et al., 2006; Kirkendoll, Clark, Grossniklaus, IghoPemu, Mullís, & Dunbar, 2010). Most African American women reported adequate knowledge of necessary changes to maintain their health but others desired more information. In the studies reviewed, African American women wanted to develop the skills and culturally appropriate alternatives to maintain a healthy lifestyle (Blixen et al. …

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