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Again, Improved Biomarkers within Weeks for Illinois African American Church-goers -- July 21, 2023

Echoing results of a 2019-2020 interventional study ("HEART-LENS") published in 2021, a new trial based on Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Institute's 15-Day Jumpstart found promising results for Illinois volunteers within a very short time-frame of dietary change.

The earlier study was named African American Health and Nutrition Intervention: Help Everyone Assess Risk Today: LEnten Nutrition Study (HEART-LENS), and its Christian-calendar related theme had been "Giving up Unhealthy Food for Lent". The principal author of its published article in Nutrients journal was Kim A. Williams, Sr., MD MACC FAHA MASNC FESC, Medicine Department Chair at University of Louisville and former President of the American College of Cardiology, now speaking for his sixth time at P-POD in our Newark NJ Sept. 30 - Oct. 2, 2023 conference. Much of the groundwork for outreach with this African American community was laid by Terry Mason, MD FACS, longtime urologist, former Chief Operating Officer, Cook County (Chicago) Department of Public Health and two-time past P-POD speaker.

The pre-publication tabulated data below was previously shown at a P-POD Conference:

44 out of 55 volunteers completed the five-week trial, involving home-delivered plant-based meals that strictly conformed to the 2019 American College of Cardiology / American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) Prevention Guidelines, emphasizing reduction in dietary sodium, cholesterol, refined carbohydrates, saturated fat and sweetened beverages. Results reflected noteworthy improvements in multiple cardiometabolic risk factors and a striking drop in TMAO. ACC/AHA pooled cohort atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk scores were able to be calculated for 41 and 36 volunteers, showing projected reduction of mean 10-year risk from 10.8 to 8.7%, a 19.4% decrease (p = 0.006). This seemed to have far-reaching implications, because racial disparities in ASCVD scores had previously been estimated at 21%.

The new study, which recruited volunteers from twelve African American churches in Kane County, Illinois, was published as a community case study article named "A whole-food, plant-based program in an African American faith-based population" in Frontiers in Nutrition. Its lead author was Faith A. Nyong, DNP MSN RN, who has been a Faith Community Nurse and Cardiac Rehabilitation Educator and post-doctoral researcher in Aurora IL, where the Mayor presented her with the city's Healthcare Hero Award in 2021. The contributing authors were various individuals from Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Institute, including Ted Barnett, MD FACLM DipABLM, its founding President, a former board of directors member of American College of Lifestyle Medicine and four-times past speaker at P-POD Conferences.

Of the 16 participants who completed the medically-facilitated "15-Day Whole-Food Plant-Based Jumpstart” program for the study, 10 had pre-existing hypertension, 5 had diabetes, 5 had pre-diabetes and 5 had hyperlipidemia. Behavioral results showing statistical significance included increased consumption of vegetables, greens, fruit, whole grains and legumes, and decreased consumption of meat, eggs, dairy, added fat, processed foods and high-fat plant foods. Though duration was only 15 days, statistical significance was found for some very consequential results: average weight loss of 5.8 pounds (199.9 to 194.1, p < 0.001), systolic blood pressure drop from 129.7 to 119.9 (p = 0.02), and total cholesterol drop from 185.1 to 147.9 (p < 0.001).

Both studies suggest great future promise for promotion of community-level dietary change among vulnerable African Americans, seeking reduction in some of the persistent race-based disparities in risk factors for chronic disease.


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