Source Scientific American
The town of New Ulm, Minn., some 90 miles outside of Minneapolis, is small. With a population of about 15,000, the self-proclaimed polka capital of the U.S. might not seem like the most obvious locale to roll out an aggressive, unconventional attack on heart disease.
But for the past couple years, a local health system has been doing just that, using an array of preventive health tactics that include everything from state-of-the-art electronic health records to free water aerobics classes.
Early results suggest that the preventive health program has been working. In the some 10,000 adults in the target zip code (56073), the rate of acute heart attacks fell by 24 percent in 15 months, according to research presented this week at the American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans. Fewer than 50 people in the area suffered a heart attack in 2008—before the reduction efforts kicked in—so the stats are slight, but the approach could have implications for larger population bases.
The program “encourages a large population to embrace healthy lifestyle changes, such as smoking cessation and improved nutrition that could improve long-term health,” Jackie Boucher, of the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, said in a prepared statement. Area residents can join an organized walking group, take a cooking class or participate in workplace health screening. (more…)