VCOM Research Day Program Book 2023

Medical Student Research Publ ic Health

14 The Acceptance of a Plant-Focused Diet by African Americans at Risk of Elevated Blood Pressure

Ahkiya Allen, VCOM-VA OMSIV, JuliSu DiMucci-Ward PhD, MPH, RD, CDE Corresponding author:

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Virginia Campus

this time, participants received regular check-in emails that included encouraging words, healthy lifestyle tips, and facts. Finally, patients participated in a Zoom roundtable, at which they were able to voice their takeaways from the study. Setting: This project took place in a small rural underserved area in Virginia. Subjects: The target audience was African Americans in a rural underserved area, at increased risk of hypertension. Main Outcome Measure: Pre-and post surveys were completed to evaluate their confidence in making plant-focused dietary changes. These results were analyzed with a paired t-test and data was graphed with a box-and-whisker plot. Results: With N = 21, 17 individuals completed the study. Initial analysis shows that over 75% of participants believe they will be able to incorporate their newly gained knowledge into their daily lives.

Introduction: With nearly 35% of its adult residents having high blood pressure, Virginia ranks 18th among the states for hypertension prevalence. According to the AHA, 55% of African Americans have hypertension, placing them at higher risk for heart attacks, strokes, and kidney disease. This project aimed to assess the acceptance of a plant-focused diet among individuals most at risk of hypertension. Secondary objectives include decreased blood pressure/controlled hypertension, weight loss, and increased energy level. The hypothesis is that despite being part of a high-risk group, with proper guidance, participants will be able to adopt the qualities of healthier living into their daily life. Methods: Design: This is a quality improvement (QI) study that utilized a pre-and post-survey study to gauge the acceptance of the DASH diet by a high-risk population. It was a 3-step process. Participants attended a basic class on the DASH diet which included skill training in healthy food selection and prep; followed by a cooking demo in which they prepared a plant-focused meal. This was followed by 4 weeks of telecentric guidance in which participants adopted the DASH diet. During

Conclusion: This study demonstrated that by meeting people where they are in an interactive manner, healthy lifestyles can be made adaptable. Despite being in a rural underserved area, participants voiced success in making lifestyle improvements to better their health and stated that they appreciated the way they were educated on this information.

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