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Prev Chronic Dis. 2008 Apr;5(2):A51. Epub 2008 Mar 15.

Pilot study of a faith-based physical activity program among sedentary blacks.

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Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest University Health Sciences, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1063, USA.



Physical activity participation is low among blacks, and strategies are needed to successfully create immediate and sustained behavior change related to physical activity. Churches can play an important role in health promotion efforts among blacks because of their central role in spiritual guidance, communication, social support, and networking. This pilot study evaluated the feasibility and acceptability of implementing a physical activity program for sedentary black adults in churches.


We used a preintervention/postintervention single-group design to evaluate the effect of a 3-month faith-based physical activity intervention on daily walking and moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity among sedentary blacks. Eighty-seven black adults participated in eight group sessions that included discussion of physical activity-related topics, an instructor-led physical activity session, and weekly incentives to promote physical activity. We used a questionnaire to assess moderate and vigorous physical activity in minutes per week at baseline and after 3 months. Walking was assessed weekly in steps per day by using a pedometer.


Participants (mean age, 52 yrs; mean body mass index, 35 kg/m(2)) reported 27 +/- 54 and 10 +/- 25 minutes per week in moderate-intensity and vigorous-intensity physical activity, respectively, and walked 4822 +/- 2351 steps per day at baseline. After 12 weeks, moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity increased by 67 +/- 78 and 44 +/- 66 minutes per week, respectively (P </= .01), and daily walking increased by 1373 +/- 728 steps per day (P < .001).


These data suggest that a faith-based physical activity intervention may be an appropriate strategy for increasing physical activity among sedentary black adults. Future research will determine the impact of this program in a randomized, controlled design.

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