Designing and Pilot-Testing a Church-Based Community Program to Reduce Obesity among African Americans

By Cowart, Luvenia W.; Biro, Diana J. et al. | ABNF Journal, Winter 2010 | Go to article overview

Designing and Pilot-Testing a Church-Based Community Program to Reduce Obesity among African Americans


Cowart, Luvenia W., Biro, Diana J., Wasserman, Timothy, Stein, Ruth Federman, Reider, Lindsey R., Brown, Betty, ABNF Journal


Abstract: Obesity raises the risk for many chronic diseases and poor health outcomes. African Americans have the highest rates of excess weight in the nation, and standard weight management programs have not worked well with this population. The Genesis Health Project, a community-designed, culturally competent intervention to reduce obesity and promote healthy lifestyles, represents a successful partnership among Syracuse University, local Black churches, and several sponsors to empower families of color to adopt and sustain positive health practices across the lifespan. This article describes the Phase I design and pilot-testing of this demonstration project, and reports the results of the first-year nutrition education/exercise-fitness program. Participant feedback indicates notable shifts toward healthier food choices, cooking methods, and exercise habits, as well as increased motivation, improved health indicators, and revamped church menus. Lessons learned from this project can be helpful in developing other community/faith-based health promotion programs for African Americans.

Key Words: Obesity among African Americans, Minority Health Education and Promotion, Culturally Competent Healthy Lifestyles Intervention, Church-based Health Program, Community Development Approach

The obesity epidemic in the United States is a serious health concern. The health consequences of excess weight include increased risks for hypertension, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, sleep apnea, asthma, arthritis, complications during pregnancy or surgery, respiratory distress, cognitive decline, lower quality of Ufe, and premature death (USDHHS, 2001). Beyond the detrimental impacts for individuals, families, and communities, we all bear the financial burden of escalating healthcare costs for chronic illnesses.

African Americans have the highest rates of excess weight in the nation and are thus at greater risk for many serious diseases. According to the CDC (2003), while 65% of U.S. adults are overweight [BMI of 25.0-29.9] and 31% of this group are obese [BMI of 30.0 or above], 70% of African Americans are overweight, with 38% obese. By gender, 77% of Black women are overweight with nearly 49% obese; 63% of Black men are overweight with 28% obese (CDC, 2002). These figures illustrate a clear health disparity for this vulnerable population, and effective interventions and treatments for overweight people of color remain a challenge. The Genesis Health Project, launched in 2004 at Syracuse University, is a community-driven, culturally competent intervention to reduce obesity and promote healthy lifestyles among African Americans in Syracuse, New York. It targets Black families at churches in a low-income area, and is helping them improve their eating and exercise habits. The key goal is to empower participants to adopt and sustain positive health practices across the lifespan.

Phase I of this demonstration project involved building a partnership with the churches and community sponsors, assessing the health needs and program interests of church members, and designing a pilot nutrition education-exercise program with participants' input. This article describes the design and pilot testing stage, reports findings, discusses lessons learned, and offers specific recommendations for developing healthy lifestyle programs for African Americans.

LITERATURE REVIEWAND CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORKS

Why is obesity so severe among African Americans? High obesity rates in this population are often associated with poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyles (Han, Tijhuis, Lean, & Seidell, 1998). African Americans have traditionally eaten more meat and other high-sodium, high-fat, and high-calorie foods; they consume fewer fruits, vegetables, fiber, and calcium (Han et al., 1998; Paschal, Lewis, Martin, Dennis-Shipp, & Sanders Simpson, 2004). Low physical activity also fosters weight gain. While ~23% of U. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Designing and Pilot-Testing a Church-Based Community Program to Reduce Obesity among African Americans
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.