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Program reduces health risk factors among Hispanics in Waukesha County, journal article says

Release Date: January 15, 2013
Contact: Lisa Hildebrand - 608.442.3765 lisa.hildebrand@wismed.org

Madison, Wis. – A community-based program in Waukesha County reduced cardiac and diabetes risk factors in Hispanic adults by increasing knowledge and positive attitudes about healthy behaviors, according to a research report in the current issue of WMJ (vol. 111, no. 6). The collaborative effort of the Waukesha County Division of Public Health and Waukesha Memorial Hospital promoted awareness of healthy food choices and the importance of physical activity among Hispanic families.

Biometric testing of the 57 adult participants following the eight-week program showed improvements in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, glucose, weight, body mass index and waist circumference, the authors wrote. Pre- and post-program knowledge tests also were used to measure the program’s effectiveness. Test scores among adults increased an average of 50 percentage points over the span of the program. For the 54 children participating in the program, the average nutrition knowledge score increased from 20 percent to 80 percent.

The program was based on the We Can! curriculum, which is endorsed by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute and was adapted to address the needs of Hispanic families. It included a 40-minute classroom component followed by a 40-minute physical activity session that concluded with a healthy family dinner.

“The We Can! program served not only to improve the knowledge and individual behaviors of the participants, but it also facilitated a variety of systems changes in the community due to its collaborative nature,” the authors of “A Community-Based Family Intervention Program to Improve Obesity in Hispanic Families” wrote. “For example, the local YMCA provided gym memberships at a discounted rate, which were awarded upon successful program completion.” The Hispanic café that served the meals also added a healthy-options section to its menu because the dishes were so popular with participants.

Published by the Wisconsin Medical Society, WMJ is devoted to the interests of the medical profession and health care in the Midwest. This peer-reviewed publication, which is available in print and electronic format, is one of the few state medical society-sponsored medical journals that publish a large amount of original research and academic content.

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All articles published in WMJ represent the views of the authors, for which neither WMJ nor the Wisconsin Medical Society take responsibility, unless clearly stated.