Background and purpose: We performed a pilot project to assess the need for and feasibility of a church-based stroke risk reduction intervention in a predominantly Mexican American community.
Methods: Participants were recruited after each mass on a single weekend from 2 Catholic churches in Corpus Christi, Texas. Questionnaires about personal stroke risk factors and interest in program participation were completed, and blood pressure screening was performed.
Results: A total of 150 individuals participated (63% Mexican American, median age 62). A substantial majority (84%) were interested in being part of a long-term church-based health education project. Blood pressure was >139/89 mm Hg in 50 of 78 (64%) of individuals with a self-reported history of hypertension, and in 17 of 69 (25%) of individuals without known hypertension, with no ethnic differences in blood pressure. Mexican Americans were younger, had a higher BMI, and were more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites.
Conclusions: There is substantial burden of stroke risk factors in these predominantly Mexican American church communities. Church-based health interventions may be a way to reduce stroke in this at-risk population.