Current Research

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Philippines Chronic Disease Prevention Project

The Philippines is a country lacking much financial attention on the people’s health and education. Virtually no money is invested in improving the people’s health; in 2006, the yearly Filipino health budget per capita was approximately two US dollars. A comparison of 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region revealed that the Philippines had the second lowest per capita health expenditure and the lowest health expenditure as a percentage of GDP in the Asia-Pacific region. In addition to spending very little on health, the Filipino government spends little on education. Statistics place the Philippines at 104th in the world in terms of the amount of money invested in education.

Pharmacological treatment is not a viable option for the majority of the people who have chronic diseases due to poor financial resources, making health care access a major barrier. Thus, this prevention study was created as a practical alternative to combat the rising trend of unhealthy diet and the decline in physical activity seen in developing countries like the Philippines.

Metformin and other medication for patients One of many boxes of Metformin and other medication for patients who suffer from diabetes or hypertension.

This project is a pilot study that will focus on hypertension. Research subjects will be involved in a 6-month education program with interactive sessions to learn about (1) hypertension, (2) a healthy diet (3) physical activity, and (4) how these three factors are intertwined to affect health outcome. Subjects will keep a diet and physical activity diary to track their progress. At monthly visits, the diet and physical activity diary will be reviewed and physical (e.g. weight, blood pressure, heart rate, etc.) and biochemical (e.g. blood glucose) data will be collected. The end goal of this pilot study is to establish a health education program that is effective in preventing a high incidence of hypertension in the Philippines by changing behavior. The study will bring to light new knowledge that may shape local, national, and global health policies. This project will be a continuous effort to combat global chronic diseases and will focus not only on hypertension in the future, but on diabetes as well.

The Philippines Chronic Disease Prevention Project will test how effective community-engaged health education is in preventing cardiovascular disease in a population of at-risk adults. Our survey in Iloilo found that 20-25% of the Filipinos surveyed are hypertensive, which agrees with the 2008 National Nutrition and Health Survey II, which found that one in every four Filipinos has hypertension. Our survey also found that 8-10% had diabetes. Current research (see notes below) shows that lifestyle modification is a very effective way to prevent the onset of diabetes and hypertension. The challenge we face is creating a sustainable program that is tailored to the community. We hope that by conducting our research, we will be able to develop a culturally sensitive and effective educational program to prevent and halt the progression of these two chronic diseases.

If you are interested in participating in the research project, or for more detailed information, contact Julieta by clicking here or visiting the "Contact" page.