Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the most common cause of death in America, but the disease rates for African-Americans are especially high.
A recent study used a community-based participatory research method to determine what hinders and facilitates individuals’ heart health.
“We chose to use photovoice because it is an effective tool for engaging communities in identifying public health concerns and potential targets for change as a first step in developing interventions to address them,” the study authors explained.
Because pharmacists have frequent and close contact with patients, they are in a prime position to spread awareness of heart disease and healthy preventive behaviors. Pharmacists can also help patients select appropriate omega-3 fatty acid dietary supplements that can support heart health.
The Heart Healthy Lenoir (HHL) study was conducted in eastern North Carolina, an area known as the “stroke belt,” in 2011 and 2012. The community in Lenoir County is 40% African-American and had a 2010 poverty rate of 23.2%.
Sessions with the 6 adults and 9 adolescents who participated in the study revealed that mental, spiritual, and social health could influence cardiovascular health. Both ecological barriers and personal responsibility factored into whether or not an individual was healthy, as well.
Ecological barriers to heart health may include racial residential segregation, socioeconomic inequalities, and economic disparity, the researchers noted.