The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation’s Connections for Cardiovascular Health program is awarding a grant of $250,000 to St. Mary’s Health Wagon to support its Heart Health 1, 2, 3: Comprehensive Cardiovascular Disease Initiative for Diabetes Mellitus, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity, which works to improve cardiovascular health in the community.
The grant is The Health Wagon’s second straight from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation, and the fifth year overall, totaling $995,562.
Heart Health 1, 2, 3 aims to identify, minimize and prevent cardiovascular disease in individuals with metabolic syndrome, diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease through health education, screening and medication management.
“Poor diet, food deserts and sedentary lifestyles have led to an increase in obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, resulting in increased risk for cardiovascular disease,” said Teresa Gardner, executive director of St. Mary’s Health Wagon. “Our program is specifically seeking to decrease weight, abdominal circumference and blood pressure to significantly reduce the risks of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.”
As a result of previous funding from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation, more than 700 people participated in the program, with over 85 percent decreasing their cholesterol levels and more than 70 percent lowering their blood pressure readings.
Over 60 percent of participants lost weight and over a quarter of those who lost weight lost 10 pounds or more. Program staff report that participants have been keeping scheduled appointments with their pharmacists for increased education and medication management counseling.
“Cardiovascular disease remains a leading cause of death in the United States, which is why we must find new ways to help prevent and decrease the risks associated with this disease,” said Dr. James W. Blasetto, chairman of the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation. “The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation is proud to provide funding to St. Mary’s Health Wagon’s innovative program to help improve cardiovascular health in their community.”