'Eating Heart Healthy' is a 4-week, 90 minutes per week, interactive cooking and nutrition program that will teach up to 12 women at a time. This is a collaborative effort between Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP), Brigham & Women's Hospital, and Roxbury Tenants of Harvard. This program will work with women with at least one risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) from the Roxbury Tenants of Harvard community to reduce CVD risks through an interactive cooking and nutrition program to increase awareness of a heart healthy diet and build skills to incorporate healthy fats and nutrient dense foods into daily meals.
Specifically, women participants will attend six hours of workshop time in the demonstration kitchen over one month. The curriculum includes information on cardiovascular risk and symptoms for women, seafood's essential role in promoting heart health, recommendations for weekly consumption, purchasing strategies for restricted family budgets, and culturally sensitive seafood recipes. Recipes will follow the themes of Fast, Inexpensive, Sustainable, and Healthy.
Seafood Nutrition Partnership is providing program management expertise, consultations with registered dietitians, securing culinary instructors and health screening services, and providing food for the program. Following the program, Seafood Nutrition Partnership will send monthly newsletters and recipes via email and text to all participants, in order to continue to support and inspire participants to move towards healthier shopping, cooking, and eating behaviors.
Brigham & Women's Hospital is providing cardiovascular wellness expertise, joint program management, administration of evaluation surveys, and managing health screenings. They will serve as the main point of contact for the participant coordinator and the culinary instructor, prepare and distribute print materials for each cooking demonstration, provide resources to measure and document pre and post health metrics, such as weight, blood pressure, attitudinal surveys, and other measures that may be indicators of improvements in heart health and increased propensity to consume seafood.
Roxbury Tenants of Harvard will identify low-income women in their community to recruit, screen, and register for the program. They will obtain registration and release forms from participants, reserve facilities that would be suitable for cooking demonstrations, and manage on-site administrative aspects of the program.
Four Eating Heart Healthy programs will be conducted every three months beginning in June 2014. Each program will be planned at least 45 days from the first class. Seafood Nutrition Partnership will promote and recruit for the 'Eating Heart Healthy' program, confirm the culinary instructor, review the affordable and delicious recipes designed for the upcoming 4-week series, review the heart healthy messages that will be delivered, and tour the demonstration kitchen to understand the set-up, appliances, cookware, and cooking utensils.
Each class will start with education on cardiovascular health led by Brigham & Women's Hospital and followed by a cooking demonstration of one lunch recipe and one dinner recipe led by a culinary instructor. At the end of the class, the participants will be provided ingredients for the recipes they learned in class to take home and replicate at home.
At the first class in each program, the organization will administer a pre-program survey to determine baseline knowledge on heart health concepts, and current seafood consumption and knowledge. A health screening will be provided to each participant to measure baseline weight, BMI, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and omega-3 blood levels.
At the conclusion of each program and at 3 months and 1 year, SNP will administer a post-program survey to determine knowledge gains. At 3 months and 1 year post program, SNP will provide follow-up health screenings for each participant. The goals for these evaluations are to determine program retention and health improvements gained.
Although cardiovascular disease is often thought of as a 'man's disease,' it is the leading cause of death for women in the United States (CDC, Women and Heart Disease Fact Sheet, 2013). The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating seafood twice a week, which has been shown to reduce risks of dying from cardiovascular disease by 36% (JAMA, 2007 Feb 14, Mozaffarian, Rimm). Unfortunately, only one in five Americans eat seafood twice a week, and only one in ten children ages 9-12 eat seafood twice a week (American Heart Association, Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics, 2012 Update). On average, Americans consume 14.4 pounds of seafood per year out of the almost 2,000 pounds of food consumed in a year (NOAA Fisheries, USDA).
Moreover, a cohort study evaluating 16 years of data and 2,700 older adults found that those who had the highest blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids (found primarily in fish) lived, on average, 2.2 years longer than those with lower levels ('Higher blood omega-3s associated with lower risk of premature death among older adults,' Harvard School of Public Health News, April 1, 2013).
Low-income women are more likely than middle- and upper-income women to have one or more risk factors for heart disease. Yet, it is more difficult for underserved populations to change their shopping, cooking, and eating habits, and harder for low-income populations to purchase healthy food within a restrictive budget, without the support of educational and behavioral interventions. This program addresses the heart disease crisis for underserved women through practical education on heart disease and seafood nutrition.