Mexican Americans, behavioral intervention, community-based


Objectives: Hispanics have a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) than non-Hispanic whites (NHWs). Despite proven benefits in other minority populations, few interventions have been conducted in partnership with Churches with substantial Hispanic membership. In this context, we describe the baseline demographics and CVD risk factors among participants of a bi-ethnic Catholic Church-based CVD prevention trial.

Methods: The Stroke Health and Risk Education (SHARE) project was a cluster-randomized, multi-component, faith-based, behavioral intervention that enrolled Mexican Americans (MAs) and NHWs from Catholic Churches in Corpus Christi, Texas. Strategies to ensure MA recruitment included bilingual staff and materials and partnership with Catholic Churches and prominent parishioners for assistance in recruiting. Primary outcomes were health behaviors: sodium intake, fruit and vegetable intake, and physical activity. The proportion of participants whose intake of sodium, fruits, vegetables, and physical activity met all guideline recommendations at baseline was calculated.

Results: A total of 755 baseline interviews were conducted in MAs (84%) and NHWs (16%) from 10 Churches. The median age was 52 (IQR 43-64) years and 64% of participants were female. Few participants met dietary guideline recommendations for fruit (7.7%), vegetable (16.7%) or sodium intake (33.3%) while the majority (74%) met guideline recommendations for physical activity. Only 0.4% of participants met all four recommendations for diet and physical activity. There were no ethnic differences in sodium or fruit intake or physical activity. MAs consumed fewer cups of vegetables than NHWs (1.36 vs. 1.75, p

Conclusions: Partnering with bi-ethnic Catholic Churches is an opportunity to enroll MAs and participants with vascular risk factors. Both MAs and NHWs rarely met all four recommendations for diet and physical activity, substantiating the need for CVD prevention interventions in similar populations.