In 2009, cardiovascular disease—including heart disease and stroke—accounted for nearly one-third of all deaths. Heart disease and stroke were ranked #1 and #4 among the 10 leading causes of death, respectively.1
Among ethnic groups, African Americans, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Filipinos, and Latinos experience the highest rates of cardiovascular disease.2 To help curb this growing trend, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) created a heart health curriculum entitled Healthy Heart, Healthy Family to empower these populations with specific tools to manage their cardiovascular health.
Healthy Heart, Healthy Family is an evidence-based cardiovascular program that provides a curriculum on subjects that aim to promote heart healthy behaviors and lifestyles, such as:
- How to recognize the signs of a heart attack
- How to eat and cook healthy foods in your home
- How to eat healthy on a budget
- How to control high blood pressure
The program also engages community health workers and provides them with information to teach the importance of screening and regulating cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Community health workers also educate participants on lifestyle changes that can improve their cardiovascular health.
Kokua Kalihi Valley, a federally qualified health center located in Hawaii, serves a large Filipino population. It collaborated with NHLBI to implement Healthy Heart, Healthy Family into its practice setting. The results yielded an improvement among clinical measures, including lower blood pressure at 6 months* and lower fasting blood glucose and cholesterol levels at 6 and 12 months.
This collaboration demonstrates that, by addressing one’s cardiac risk factors with a curriculum-based program such as Healthy Family, Healthy Heart, individuals can reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease, other chronic conditions, and premature death.
*Blood pressure improvement was not seen at 12 months.