Designing and pilot-testing a church-based community program to reduce obesity among African Americans.ABNF J. 2010 Winter; 21(1):4-10.AJ
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.