Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in women, yet significant health disparities exist for high-risk groups, including Latinas, and comprehensive, culturally relevant, and effective prevention intervention models are lacking. We used a systems approach to develop, assess, and pilot a community-based education program for improving outcomes for knowledge/awareness of CVD, cardiometabolic risk, and health behaviors in Latinas. Methods: Latinas (n=35, mean age 50) participated in a 4-month community-based bilingual preventive cardiovascular education program. Pre/post analyses were for knowledge/awareness of CVD risk factors, symptoms, calling 911; personal risk factors (smoking, physical inactivity, family history of CVD); clinical parameters (weight, body mass index [BMI], waist, blood pressure, fasting lipids, and glucose); diagnosis of metabolic syndrome (MetS); and serum inflammatory markers (tumor necrosis factor [TNF]-α, high-sensitivity C reactive protein [hsCRP], and interleukin [IL]-12). Results: Baseline knowledge/awareness was relatively low, risk factors and MetS prevalent, and serum inflammatory markers elevated. Postintervention, participants demonstrated significant (p<0.05) improvements in knowledge of symptoms, risk factors for CVD, calling 911, and knowledge/adoption of heart-healthy behaviors. Clinical health status also improved, especially for serum triglycerides (p<0.05; 21% decline), prevalence of MetS (from 43% to 37% of participants), and serum levels of the proinflammatory TNF-α (from 16.9±1.11â‰pg/mL to 13.5±0.8â‰pg/mL, p<0.05). Conclusion: A bilingual culturally appropriate community-based CVD-prevention program based on health education, medical screenings, and empowerment is a successful, effective, adaptable, and replicable model to significantly improve cardiometabolic risk in Latinas.
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