Physical activity (PA) participation offers many benefits especially among ethnic groups that experience health disparities. Partnering with faith-based organizations allows for a more culturally tailored approach to changing health behaviors.
8 Steps to Fitness was a faith-based behavior-change intervention promoting PA among members of African American churches. A quasi-experimental design was used to examine differences between the intervention group (n=72) and comparison group (n = 74). Health (resting blood pressure, body mass index, waist-hip ratio, fasting blood glucose), psycho-social (PA self-efficacy, social support, enjoyment, self-regulation, depression), and behavioral variables (PA, diet) were assessed at baseline, 3- and 6-months. Repeated measures ANCOVAs tested changes across time between groups.
At 3-months, the intervention group showed significantly more favorable changes in body mass index, waist circumference and social support than the control group. At 6-months, the intervention group showed significantly more favorable changes in hip circumference, waist to hip ratio, systolic blood pressure, and depressive symptoms. There was notable attrition from both the intervention (36%) and the comparison group (58%).
This study was conducted in a real-world setting, and provided insight into how to deliver a culturally-tailored PA intervention program for African Americans with a potential for dissemination.
Bopp and Fallon are with the Dept of Kinesiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS. Wilcox, Butler, and McClorin are with the Dept of Exercise Science and Prevention Research Center, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. Laken is with the Office of Special Initiatives, College of Nursing, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC. Hooker is with the Prevention Research Center, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. Parra-Medina and Saunders are with the Dept of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.