The purpose of this study is to evaluate the possible difference of the impact of Women Healthy Heart Project on lifestyle, as well as physical/biochemical parameters of working women and housewives.
This was a community-based intervention study conducted over 5 years (2002-2007) in the counties of Isfahan and Najafabad (intervention areas) and Arak (control). Pre-study situation analysis of women was followed by 5 years of wide-ranging interventions (educational/environmental) conducted by various organizations using different methodologies. The interventions were aimed at modifying/improving lifestyle by increasing physical activity, encouraging healthy eating, and tobacco use cessation. The organizations involved in performing the interventions included the local radio and television authority, health/treatment centers, the Red Crescent Society, Municipalities, the Relief Committee, the Center for Retirees’ Welfare, and the Literacy Campaign Organization. After 5 years, final phase same as first phase was planed. The subjects studied in all phases‘ the pre- and post-intervention phases consisted of 10586 women aged above 18 years. Demographic data, obesity index, smoking, physical activity and eating habit were assessed before and after the study. Data were analyzed using SPSS-15 using Student's t-test, chi-square test, the general linear model of ANOVA, and logistic regression.
We studied 10586 women (6105 and 4481 women, pre- and post-intervention, respectively). Mean age of working women was 34.14±10.09 and 34.08±9.35 years before and after the study, respectively. Mean age of housewives before and after the study was 40.05±14.61 and 40.36±15.32 years, respectively. Interventions conducted during 5 years improved eating habits and decreased tobacco use in working women and housewives. In every phase of the study, there was a significant age difference between housewives and working women (P<0.001). Hence data were adjusted according to age in each phase. Overall physical activity of housewives and working women increased, but the percentage of passive smokers among housewives remained unchanged. Waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio changed significantly in housewives following interventions (P<0.001). The parameter which improved significantly in working women was waist circumference (P<0.05). However, after adjusting for age, no significant difference was seen between working women and housewives following interventions.
Community-based interventions, especially those directed at housewives, can lead to significant improvements in lifestyle and cardiovascular risk reduction. It seems that working women require tailored interventions to suit their conditions. Although short-term outcomes may seem insignificant, persistence and continuity of lifestyle changes may lead to reduced prevalence of cardiovascular diseases. Then longer-term studies are warranted.