Modification of coronary heart disease risk factor levels in Mexican Americans



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Mexican Americans are at greater risk for several coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors, including hyperlipidemia, hyperglycemia, hypertension, and obesity than is the general population. Yet there is little research on the distribution of CHD risk factors and the effectiveness of modifying those risk factors in the Mexican American population. The present study represents an analysis of CHD risk factors in a Mexican American population participating in a longitudinal program of weight loss. A total of 118 women were followed for a six month period while they participated in the program as members of one of three intervention groups. Group 1 served as a comparison group receiving the weight loss program through the weight loss manual. Group 2, the individual group, received the same booklet and also attended classes for its instruction. Group 3, the family group, received the booklet and was also encouraged to include their spouses in class attendance. Group 3's classes included additional information on how to incorporate dietary and lifestyle changes into their families. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of this program for modifying lipid, blood sugar, blood pressure, and body mass index (BMI) levels in this population. It was hypothesized that subjects in the family group intervention would be more successful than the individual intervention and comparison groups. Multivariate and univariate repeated measures analyses were conducted on the dependent measures. There was a significant Group X Time interaction, however BMI was the only dependent measure significantly modified. The family and individual group interventions had a significantly greater reduction in BMI than the comparison group, but did not significantly differ from each other. There was, however, a significant linear trend in BMI across all three groups. Exploratory analyses yielded a much greater proportion of family group subjects losing weight and BMI than the other two groups. Therefore, there is strong evidence that this intervention succeeded in reducing at least one CHD risk factor level. The success of the intervention relates well to a systems theory framework, and may generalize to other samples and populations.



Mexican Americans, Health and hygiene, Coronary heart disease, Coronary heart disease, Nutrition