Peer Reviewed: Perceptions of Cardiovascular Health in Underserved Communities

Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO 80045, USA.
Preventing chronic disease (Impact Factor: 2.12). 03/2010; 7(2):A30.
Source: PubMed


Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of deaths and illnesses in US adults, and the prevalence is disproportionately high in underserved populations. In this study, we assessed respondents' understanding of context-specific differences in knowledge and perceptions of disease, risk, and prevention in 6 underserved communities, with the longer-term goal of developing appropriate interventions.
Thirty-nine small-group sessions and 14 interviews yielded data from 318 adults. Each site's researchers coded, analyzed, and extracted key themes from local data. Investigators from all sites synthesized results and identified common themes and differences.
Themes clustered in 3 areas (barriers to cardiovascular health, constraints related to multiple roles, and suggestions for effective communications and programs). Barriers spanned individual, social and cultural, and environmental levels; women in particular cited multiple roles (eg, competing demands, lack of self-care). Programmatic suggestions included the following: personal, interactive, social context; information in language that people use; activities built around cultural values and interests; and community orientation. In addition, respondents preferred health-related information from trusted groups (eg, AARP), health care providers (but with noticeable differences of opinion), family and friends, and printed materials.
Interventions to decrease barriers to cardiovascular health are needed; these strategies should include family and community context, small groups, interactive methods, culturally sensitive materials, and trusted information sources. New-immigrant communities need culturally and linguistically tailored education before receiving more substantive interventions.

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