Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Effectiveness of community-based comprehensive healthy lifestyle promotion on cardiovascular disease risk factors in a rural Vietnamese population: a quasi-experimental study

Quang Ngoc Nguyen123*, Son Thai Pham23, Viet Lan Nguyen12, Lars Weinehall3, Stig Wall3, Ruth Bonita4 and Peter Byass3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Cardiology, Hanoi Medical University, 1 Ton-That-Tung Street, Dong-Da District, Hanoi, 10000, Vietnam

2 Vietnam National Heart Institute, Bach Mai Hospital, 78 Giai-Phong Avenue, Dong-Da District, Hanoi, 10000, Vietnam

3 Umeå Centre for Global Health Research, Umeå University, Umeå, 90187, Sweden

4 School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland, 1142, New Zealand

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BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2012, 12:56  doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-56

Published: 25 July 2012



Health promotion is a key component for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). This study evaluated the impact of healthy lifestyle promotion campaigns on CVD risk factors (CVDRF) in the general population in the context of a community-based programme on hypertension management.


A quasi-experimental intervention study was carried out in two rural communes of Vietnam from 2006 to 2009. In the intervention commune, a hypertensive-targeted management programme integrated with a community-targeted health promotion was initiated, while no new programme, apart from conventional healthcare services, was provided in the reference commune. Health promotion campaigns focused on smoking cessation, reducing alcohol consumption, encouraging physical activity and reducing salty diets. Repeated cross-sectional surveys in local adult population aged 25 years and over were undertaken to assess changes in blood pressure (BP) and behavioural CVDRFs (smoking, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity and salty diet) in both communes before and after the 3-year intervention.


Overall 4,650 adults above 25 years old were surveyed, in four randomly independent samples covering both communes at baseline and after the 3-year intervention. Although physical inactivity and obesity increased over time in the intervention commune, there was a significant reduction in systolic and diastolic BP (3.3 and 4.7 mmHg in women versus 3.0 and 4.6 mmHg in men respectively) in the general population at the intervention commune. Health promotion reduced levels of salty diets but had insignificant impact on the prevalence of daily smoking or heavy alcohol consumption.


Community-targeted healthy lifestyle promotion can significantly improve some CVDRFs in the general population in a rural area over a relatively short time span. Limited effects on a context-bound CVDRF like smoking suggested that higher intensity of intervention, a supportive environment or a gender approach are required to maximize the effectiveness and maintain the sustainability of the health intervention.

Cardiovascular disease risk factors; Healthy lifestyle promotion; Community-based intervention; Hypertension management; Quasi-experimental study; Vietnam