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Study shows faith-based interventions can encourage exercise in older African-American women
Date:10/6/2010

In a randomized controlled study based in Los Angeles, California, encouraging African-American women aged 60 or over to exercise, in conjunction with scripture reading and group prayer, led to a 78% increase in steps per week, equivalent to about three extra miles. This increase was four times greater than in the control group who were also encouraged to exercise but with no faith based interventions. The results are published today in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Older African-American women are the least physically active race-sex subgroup in the United States. Despite this disparity in rates of physical activity, few of the reported physical activity interventions for older adults report outcomes according to race and sex. Alongside this, spirituality and religion are powerful cultural influences for this group and more than 95% of older African-American adults report praying nearly every day.

"The rationale for this study is our belief that health promotion efforts for African-Americans must take advantage of existing community strengths to be sustained and be successful, such as members of the same church having a sense of communal identity," said lead researcher Dr. O. Kenrik Duru, of the University of California, Los Angeles. "Therefore, we decided to conduct this intervention within churches, to test whether leveraging community strengths could lead to behavior change."

The study included 62 women recruited from three churches in Los Angeles; Catholic, African Methodist Episcopal, and Seventh Day Adventist. There were 34 women in the intervention group and 28 in the control group. Each group met for 90 minutes once a week for eight weeks and then once a month for six months. In each of the eight 90 minute sessions, both groups exercised for 45 minutes, led by an instructor. The remaining 45 minutes was different between the groups; the intervention group listened to scripture readings, took pa
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Contact: Jennifer Beal
healthnews@wiley.com
44-012-437-70633
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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