Effect of long-term community health education on body mass index. The Stanford Five-City Project.

Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA.
American Journal of Epidemiology (Impact Factor: 4.98). 09/1991; 134(3):235-49.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Being overweight is a risk factor for cardiovascular heart disease and other medical problems. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of a community-wide cardiovascular risk reduction trial (the Stanford Five-City Project) on body mass index. In the Stanford Five-City Project, two treatment cities (n = 122,800) received a 6-year mass media and community organization cardiovascular risk reduction intervention. Changes in the treatment cities were compared with two control cities (n = 197,500) for changes in knowledge of risk factors, blood pressure, plasma cholesterol level, smoking rate, body mass index, and resting pulse rate after 5-1/3 years of the education program. Both cohort and cross-sectional (independent) samples were used in the study. In the independent surveys, subjects in the treatment communities gained significantly less weight than subjects in the control communities (0.57 kg compared with 1.25 kg) over 6 years. In the cohort, there were no significant overall differences. The study provides some evidence that a community health education program may help reduce weight gain over time, but more effective methods must be developed if this important risk factor is to be favorably affected in broad populations.