Background: In six regions of former West Germany, a community-oriented prevention program for coronary heart disease (CHD) was conducted over a 7-year period.
Methods: In the intervention regions, CHD prevention activities were performed with special emphasis on healthy nutrition, increased physical activity, and reduction of smoking, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia. The impact of these activities on CHD risk factor trends was observed in three independent samples of the intervention regions. Three independent representative samples of the total West German population were used as a reference. Linear regression models with interaction terms to represent the intervention effects were used to test for differences in risk factor trends.
Results: In the pooled intervention regions, a net reduction in mean values of systolic (-2.0%) and diastolic (-2.0%) blood pressure, total serum cholesterol (-1.8%), as well as the percentage of smokers (-6.7%) was observed compared with the nationwide trend. From the major CHD risk factors, only body mass index was not influenced in the intervention population.
Conclusions: The community-oriented German Cardiovascular Prevention program can effectively be used to reduce CHD risk factors in a broad population.