Cardiovascular risk factor prevalence in African-American adult screenees for a church-based cholesterol education program: the Northeast Oklahoma City Cholesterol Education Program.

J. M. Flack, W. H. Wiist

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The status of selected cardiovascular risk factors was ascertained in a consecutive sample of 661 (222 men and 439 women) African-American adults who were screened for the Northeast Oklahoma City Cholesterol Education Program, a church-based cholesterol intervention program. Hypertension was present in 48.4% and 44.7% of men and women, respectively. Average systolic blood pressure levels were similar in men and women (132.0 vs 131.5 mm Hg, P = 0.40) although average diastolic blood pressure levels were higher in men (84.0 vs 81.1 mm Hg; P < .0001). A substantial proportion of the screenees were unaware of their hypertension, and blood pressure normalization (SBP < 140 and DBP < 90 mm Hg) was uncommon in drug-treated hypertensives. Average cholesterol levels were slightly higher in women compared to men (206.0 vs 199.6 mg/dL, P = 0.11). The majority of persons with elevated cholesterol levels (> or = 240 mg/dL) were unaware of their condition and were infrequently treated with cholesterol-lowering drugs. Overweight was highly prevalent, was more common with advancing age, and was related to the presence of hypertension in both men and women. In addition, a strong linear relation between overweight and blood pressure was present in both sexes. Overweight was more common in young men (< 35 years old) compared to age-matched women; however, women were increasingly more overweight than men after 35-44 years of age. In fact, by age 65, 90% of the women were overweight. These data indicate an excessive prevalence and high mean levels of modifiable cardiovascular risk factors in these church-attending African-American adults. Because churches are a central institution in most African-American communities, and their congregations appear to have an excessive cardiovascular disease risk factor burden, churches may be appropriate sites for the implementation of community-based risk factor control programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-90
Number of pages13
JournalEthnicity & disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1991
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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