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Adaptation of a Modified DASH Diet to a Rural African American Community Setting

Published:September 12, 2016DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2016.07.014

      Introduction

      Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among African Americans in the U.S., with high blood pressure and obesity being two of the main determinants. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet is effective in changing behaviors associated with these health concerns, but has not been adapted to community settings.

      Methods

      Men on the Move: Growing Communities (MOTMGC) was evaluated using a quasi-experimental cross-sectional design. Surveys were conducted with rural African Americans aged ≥18 years prior to the intervention (2008) and at the end of the project (2013), with the final analysis conducted in 2015. Using a community-based participatory research approach, MOTMGC provided culturally appropriate education and changes to the environment to improve access to fruits and vegetables, low-fat, and low-sodium foods.

      Results

      Declines in prevalence of overweight and obese respondents and hypertension were seen in the intervention but not the comparison county. Participants with high levels of participation reported eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day, a greater variety of fruits and vegetables, less salt, and seasoning their vegetables with less fat more often than those who did not participate in educational activities. Participants reported that as a result of their access to MOTMGC gardens, they were more likely to eat more fruits, vegetables, and locally grown food, and less processed food and fast food.

      Conclusions

      Adapting the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet to community settings through culturally appropriate community-based efforts can improve dietary behaviors, BMI, and blood pressure.
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