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International Journal of Hypertension
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 913960, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/913960
Review Article

Experiences in Developing and Implementing Health Clubs to Reduce Hypertension Risk among Adults in a South African Population in Transition

1School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape, Private Bag X17, Bellville 7535, South Africa
2Chronic Diseases of Lifestyle Research Unit, Medical Research Council, P.O. Box 19070, Tygerberg 7505, South Africa

Received 19 March 2012; Accepted 9 July 2012

Academic Editor: Samy I. McFarlane

Copyright © 2012 Thandi R. Puoane et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Chronic noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are increasing substantially as a cause of death and disability in all strata of the South African society, particularly among the urbanised poor. Hypertension is a risk factor for many of these diseases and becoming a burden in a growing population in a Cape Town township, Khayelitsha. To alleviate healthcare demands at clinics in this area, a health club was initiated and community health workers (CHWs) were trained to empower community members about NCDs and create public awareness. After training, a health club was initiated. Three months after initiation of the health club, 76 participants had been recruited of whom 22 were regular attenders. New members joined the health club weekly. Anthropometric and blood pressure measurements were taken, and various hypertension topics were covered at the club meetings which included healthy behaviours, such as the benefits of being physically active and eating healthy. Nutrition education sessions based on the South African food-based dietary guidelines were also held. Consequent to the initial group that was established, two more clubs were formed in the area. Health clubs are sustainable and culturally appropriate when facilitated by local people who have an insight and deeper understanding of the culture and environment of the people they serve.