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Ethn Dis. 2005 Summer;15(3):373-8.

A pilot church-based weight loss program for African-American adults using church members as health educators: a comparison of individual and group intervention.

Author information

  • 1Health Behavior Dept., Pennington Biomedical Research Center, 6400 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, USA.



The purpose of this study was to examine a church-based intervention employing a 6-month pilot weight loss program as a strategy to improve health of African-American adults.


A randomized trial design was used without a control group. Eligible church members were randomized into two groups: an intervention delivered in the group setting and an intervention delivered in the individual setting.


The study was conducted at an African-American church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


Forty church members were enrolled in the study. Two trained church members without specialization in obesity treatment conducted the study.


The primary outcome measure was weight loss.


The program retention rate was 90%. After six months, a modest but significant mean weight loss was seen in all participants of 3.3 kg. The mean weight losses in the individual and group interventions were 3.4 kg and 3.1 kg, respectively. The mean body fat loss was 2.1 kg and 1.9 kg, respectively. The difference in weight loss and fat loss between the individual and group interventions was not statistically significant. An improvement in the quality of life and an increase in physical activity were reported by the program participants.


A church setting may provide an effective delivery mechanism for a health and nutrition program. Church members may be trained to conduct a weight control program. Both interventions (individual and group) were effective in inducing weight loss.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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