Designed to improve dietary habits and increase physical activity among African Americans, this community- and religious-based intervention provides users with Bible-themed materials, including an exercise videotape and guidebook, a nutrition videotape, a cookbook of recipes from church members, an audio cassette of gospel music to use during a workout, and motivational interviewing telephone calls. The study showed an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption and in minutes spent in physical activity.
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Poor dietary patterns and sedentary lifestyle together account for between 300,000 and 500,000 deaths each year. Like most other Americans, African Americans are at high risk for multiple diseases related to their poor dietary choices and exercise patterns. Relative to their White American counterparts, African American women are more likely to be overweight.
The Healthy Body/Healthy Spirit program aims to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity among African Americans. Biblical themes are woven throughout. The program provides users with an exercise videotape and guidebook; a nutrition videotape; a cookbook of recipes from church members; and an audio cassette of gospel music. Songs on the cassette are sequenced to match a three-phase workout: warm-up, aerobic activity, and cool down. In addition, Healthy Body/Healthy Spirit participants receive motivational interviewing telephone calls from trained counselors.
Delivery time varies because the intervention is self-administered. Each video is approximately 20 minutes long and the motivational telephone calls take roughly 20 minutes. Masters- and doctoral-level psychologists received 16 hours of initial training and 12 hours of ongoing supervision to conduct the telephone calls.
In the study, participants were 18-86 year old African Americans from the greater Atlanta area. Two-thirds were female. Sixty percent of the participants earned $40,000 or more per year, and approximately one-half of the study group completed college.
The intervention is suitable for implementation at home. For the study, participants were recruited through the church.
Required resources include a nutrition video, "Forgotten Miracles", the "Healthy Body/Healthy Spirit" video and exercise guide, the "Eat for Life Cookbook", a gospel workout audio cassette, and a motivational interviewing manual. Costs associated with the program's implementation are not provided.
About the Study
For the study, 16 Black churches in the Atlanta metropolitan area were randomly assigned to three intervention conditions. Group 1, the comparison group, received standard nutrition and physical activity intervention materials; Group 2 received the culturally-tailored self-help nutrition and physical activity intervention materials; and Group 3 received the HB/HS intervention materials, plus four telephone counseling calls based on motivational interviewing.
- HB/HS participants who received the motivational interviewing (MI) consumed more fruits and vegetables than participants receiving only HB/HS, who in turn consumed more fruits and vegetables than those receiving the standard materials.
- Participants receiving HB/HS, with and without the telephone calls, exercised for more minutes per week than participants receiving the standard materials.
Resnicow K, Jackson A, Braithwaite R, DiIorio C, Blisset D, Rahotep S, Periasamy S. (2002). Healthy Body/Healthy Spirit: A Church-Based Nutrition and Physical Activity Intervention. Health Education Research, 17(5), 562-573.
Resnicow K, McCarty F, Blissett D, Wang T, Heiztler C, Lee R. (2003). Validity of a Modified CHAMPS Physical Activity Questionnaire Among African-Americans. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 35(9), 1537-1545.