Semester of Graduation

Fall 2021

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Nutrition and Food Science

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Introduction: Hypertension is a primary risk factor for heart disease and stroke, and contributes to renal disease, premature death, and disability. More recently, hypertension has also been identified as a risk factor for serious symptoms or as an underlying cause of death from Covid-19. Break up with salt (BUWS) is a 4-session, community-based nutrition education program of the LSU AgCenter, developed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, to help Louisiana’s adults prevent or mange hypertension. The BUWS curriculum focuses on the DASH diet, healthy food selection and preparation skills, and physical activity and stress management. BUWS was piloted in a virtual format, from Fall 2020 through Spring 2021, with small groups of participants from around the state.

Goal: To determine if participation in BUWS influences food consumption and related behaviors among participants.

Methods: Program participants were recruited in 5 Louisiana parishes, by nutrition extension agents trained on the program and evaluation. A pre/post/follow-up e-survey design was used to assess participant change immediately following the fourth session and at 3-months. Survey items covered food consumption from key categories, food preparation, food/product label use, physical activity/sedentary behaviors, perceived stress and health, and participant demographics. The Wilcoxon’s-signed rank test for partially matched data was used for analysis of most items.

Results: Among 32 participants,13 pre/post matched surveys were completed; there were too few follow-up surveys for meaningful analysis. This participant group was predominantly female (92%), middle aged (88%), and White/Caucasian (50%) or Black/African American (40%). Statistical testing at p

Conclusion: This study demonstrated that the BUWS program had a positive influence on behaviors that help reduce hypertension risk and improve hypertension management. For greater substantiation, BUWS should be re-piloted with a larger number of participants and follow-up assessments and conducted face-to-face as well as virtually.

Committee Chair

Gollub Elizabeth

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