Education to Improve Stroke-Related Risk Factors

Study Questions:

Does an educational program improve risk factors for stroke?


The Stroke Health and Risk Education (SHARE) project was a church-based behavioral intervention to modify behavior associated with stroke risk among a largely Hispanic/Latino population. This was a cluster-randomized trial conducted in 10 catholic churches. The intervention group received a 1-year multicomponent program to improve behaviors associated with stroke risk factors including reducing dietary sodium, increasing fruit and vegetable intake, and increasing physical activity. Educational materials included self-help materials, tailored newsletters, and motivational interviews with counselors. Outcomes included change from baseline to 6 and 12 months for these specific behaviors (dietary sodium, fruit and vegetable intake, and physical activity).


A total of 801 participants were consented (438 in the intervention and 363 in the control group), of which 760 (411 in the intervention and 349 in the control group) completed the baseline assessments and 86% of 706 participants completed one or more outcome assessment. Median age was 53 years, 84% were Hispanic/Latino, and 64% were women. Participants in the intervention group had greater increase in fruit and vegetable intake compared to the control group (0.25 cups per day [95% confidence interval, 0.08-0.42], p = 0.002), a greater decrease in sodium intake (−123.17 mg/d [−194.76, −51.59], p = 0.04), but no difference in change in moderate- or greater-intensity physical activity (−27 metabolic equivalent–minutes per week [−526, 471], p = 0.56).


The investigators concluded that a multicomponent behavioral intervention for predominantly Hispanic/Latino patients conducted in churches is effective in improving behaviors that can reduce stroke risk factors.


This intervention focuses on a population at risk for stroke and demonstrated that an educational program with motivational interviewing can improve behaviors associated with stroke risk.

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