Can a sustainable community intervention reduce the health gap? - 10-Year evaluation of a Swedish community intervention program for the prevention of cardiovascular disease

Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University, Sweden.
Scandinavian journal of public health. Supplement (Impact Factor: 1.44). 02/2001; 56(56):59-68. DOI: 10.1080/140349401316898144
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This paper evaluates the 10-year outcomes of a Northern Sweden community intervention program for the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD), with special reference to the social patterning of risk development.
Using a quasi-experimental design, trends in risk factors and predicted mortality in an intervention area (Norsjö municipality) are compared with those in a reference area (Northern Sweden region) by repeated independent cross-sectional surveys.
There were significant differences in changes in total cholesterol level and systolic blood pressure between the intervention and reference populations. The predicted coronary heart disease mortality (based on the North Karelia risk equation). after adjustment for age and education, was reduced by 36% in the intervention area and by 1% in the reference area.
We conclude that a long-term community-based CVD prevention program which combines population and individual strategies can substantially promote a health shift in CVD risk in a high risk rural population. When evaluated for different social strata, we found no signs of an increasing health gap between socially privileged and less privileged groups. Socially less-privileged groups benefited the most from the present prevention program.

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