Abstract 6267: Fit Body and Soul: A Church-Based Behavioral Life Style Program for Diabetes Prevention in African Americans
African Americans (AA) have greater proportion of the nation’s obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D) burden and are less likely to benefit from general weight-loss programs compared to Whites. The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness within a AA church of a 3-month behavioral lifestyle intervention “Fit Body and Soul” (FBS) translated from the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) using community based participatory approach. The overall goal is to reduce at least 5% baseline weight among high risk AA church participants. Forty participants were selected from a semi-urban church with more than 600 memberships. Eligibility criteria included:
aged 20 – 64 years;
self-described AA; and
Church Pastor suggested four church leaders (called Church Health Advisors-CHAs) who after receiving 2-day training from Diabetes Prevention Program experts from Pittsburgh (Dr Andrea Kirska) served as study interventionists with the support of experts and church pastor. The 12-session FBS program was delivered by the CHAs at the church (one-hour session/ week for 12 weeks). Mean age was 46 ± 12 years. Many (48.95%) were obese with mean BMI of 36.07 ± 21. This pattern was also reflected in high waist circumferences (WC) with mean of 108.66 ± 14.86. 68% were hypertensive; 40% were newly diagnosed hypertensive. At the end of the 12-session FBS, 50% of participants (19/38) lost at least 5% weight, and 30% lost ≥ 7% weight.
Conclusion: Fit Body and Soul is a culturally relevant, faith-based, behavioral lifestyle program, conducted and promoted by AA church members with the support of experts and church pastors. We have suggested use of expert-led CHAs team to provide the intervention. The overall efforts were to empower individuals and their families within the faith community to establish and maintain positive health related behavioral. We have submitted results obtained form this study for clinical controlled trial in 20 AA churches to the NIH for funding