To evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of the Carolina Heart Alliance Networking for Greater Equity (CHANGE) Program, an adapted evidence-based cardiovascular disease risk reduction intervention delivered by Community Health Workers (CHW) to rural adults.
Hybrid implementation-effectiveness study with a pre-post design.
North Carolina Federally Qualified Health Center and local health department in a rural, medically underserved area.
Participants (n = 255) included 87% Non-Hispanic Black with a mean age of 57 years; 84% had diagnosed hypertension, 55% had diabetes, and 65% had hypercholesterolemia.
A CHW-delivered, low-intensity, 4-month behavioral lifestyle intervention promoting a southern-style Mediterranean dietary pattern and physical activity.
We measured number and representativeness of participants reached and retained, intervention delivery fidelity, weight, blood pressure, and self-reported dietary and physical activity behaviors.
Pre-post changes at 4 months were analyzed using paired t-tests.
Study participants completed 90% of planned intervention contacts; 87% were retained. Intervention delivery fidelity measures showed participants receiving a mean of 3.5 counseling visits, 2.7 booster calls, and on average completing 1.7 modules, setting 1.8 goals, and receiving 1.3 referrals per visit. There were significant mean reductions in systolic (-2.5 mmHg, P < .05) and diastolic blood pressure (-2.1 mmHg, P < .01); the proportion of participants with systolic blood pressure <130 increased by 7 % points (P = .05), and diastolic pressure <80 by 9 percentage points (P < .01). Dietary behaviors improved significantly with average weekly servings of nuts increased by .5 serving (P < .0001), and fruits and vegetables by .8 daily serving (P < .0001). Physical activity also increased on average by 45 min./week (P < .001). Weight did not change significantly.
The CHANGE program showed both implementation and program effectiveness and adds to the evidence supporting CHW-delivered lifestyle interventions to reduce CVD risk among rural, Non-Hispanic Black, and medically underserved populations.