Public Release: 

Heart of New Ulm project results show improvement in heart disease risk factors

Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation

Minneapolis, MN - November 16, 2014 - Researchers from Allina Health and the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation have presented on the results and implications of The Heart of New Ulm Project on heart disease risk factors at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Chicago, Ill.

The Heart of New Ulm is a 10-year community intervention aimed at reducing the rate of modifiable cardiovascular disease risk factors in a rural community through interventions delivered through clinical, worksite, and broader community settings with goals of improving lifestyle changes, clinical care, and the environment where community members work and play. Interventions include heart health screenings, health coaching, worksite health improvement programs, improving the food environment with restaurants and farmers markets, and increasing the opportunities for physical activity in the community.

In the first study, a research team examined how CVD risk factors had changed over the first five years of the project. Significant improvements were identified for blood pressure and lipids at the population level. The percentage of residents with blood pressure at goal increased from 78.7 percent to 84.3 percent, and the percentage with LDL cholesterol at goal increased from 68 percent to 72 percent. No significant changes were noted in BMI, glucose and smoking. These population-level improvements were driven primarily by better risk factor control among those who were not at goal when the project began.

In the second study, a research team examined whether short-term changes in lifestyle factors had an effect on high density lipoprotein (HDL) and total cholesterol/HDL ratio. They found that weight loss was the strongest lifestyle predictor of increased HDL. Furthermore, quitting smoking and decreased physical activity were associated respectively with improved and poorer total cholesterol/HDL ratio.

The annual American Heart Association Scientific Sessions is the leading cardiovascular conference for basic, translational, clinical and population science with more than 15,000 cardiovascular health experts in attendance. The 2014 sessions are being held at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill.


About the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation

The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation is dedicated to creating a world without heart disease through groundbreaking clinical and population health research and community outreach. MHIF's mission is to improve people's lives through the highest quality cardiovascular research and education.

  • Scientific Innovation and Research - Publishing more than 120 peer-reviewed studies each year, MHIF is a recognized research leader in the broadest range of cardiovascular medicine. Each year, cardiologists and hospitals around the world adopt MHIF protocols to save lives and improve patient care.
  • Education and Outreach - Research shows that modifying specific health behaviors can significantly reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. As part of its mission, the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation has been involved in cutting-edge, transformative population health research to connect, engage, inform and empower individuals and communities to improve their health.

About the Minneapolis Heart Institute®

The Minneapolis Heart Institute® is recognized internationally as one of the world's leading providers of heart and vascular care. This state-of-the-art facility combines the finest in personalized patient care with sophisticated technology in a unique, family-oriented environment. The Institute's programs, a number of which are conducted in conjunction with Abbott Northwestern Hospital, address the full range of heart and vascular health needs: prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.

Teresa Ambroz
Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation

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