Rationale and Design of Family-Based Approach in a Minority Community Integrating Systems–Biology for Promotion of Health (FAMILIA)

Sameer Bansilal, Rajesh Vedanthan, Jason C. Kovacic, Ana Victoria Soto, Jacqueline Latina, Johan LM Björkegren, Risa Jaslow, Maribel Santana, Samantha Sartori, Chiara Giannarelli, Venkatesh Mani, Roger Hajjar, Eric Schadt, Andrew Kasarskis, Zahi A. Fayad, Valentin Fuster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Background The 2020 American Heart Association Impact Goal aims to improve cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20% while reducing deaths from cardiovascular disease and stroke by 20%. A large step toward this goal would be to better understand and take advantage of the significant intersection between behavior and biology across the entire life-span. In the proposed FAMILIA studies, we aim to directly address this major knowledge and clinical health gap by implementing an integrated family-centric health promotion intervention and focusing on the intersection of environment and behavior, while understanding the genetic and biologic basis of cardiovascular disease. Methods We plan to recruit 600 preschool children and their 600 parents or caregivers from 12-15 Head Start schools in Harlem, NY, and perform a 2:1 (2 intervention/1 control) cluster randomization of the schools. The preschool children will receive our intensive 37-hour educational program as the intervention for 4 months. For the adults, those in the “intervention” group will be randomly assigned to 1 of 2 intervention programs: an “individual-focused” or “peer-to-peer based.” The primary outcome in children will be a composite score of knowledge (K), attitudes (A), habits (H), related to body mass index Z score (B), exercise (E), and alimentation (A) (KAH-BEA), using questionnaires and anthropometric measurements. For adults, the primary outcome will be a composite score for behaviors/outcomes related to blood pressure, exercise, weight, alimentation (diet) and tobacco (smoking; Fuster-BEWAT score). Saliva will be collected from the children for SNP genotyping, and blood will be collected from adults for RNA sequencing to identify network models and predictors of primary prevention outcomes. Conclusion The FAMILIA studies seek to demonstrate that targeting a younger age group (3-5 years) and using a family-based approach may be a critical strategy in promoting cardiovascular health across the life-span.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-181
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Heart Journal
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017
Externally publishedYes


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