Recruiting and Retaining Young, Sedentary, Hypertension-Prone African American Women in a Physical Activity Intervention Study

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Abstract

African American women have a high prevalence of hypertension and low level of physical activity compared with their counterparts. A sedentary lifestyle contributes to the development of hypertension, as well as other cardiovascular diseases, especially among African American women. Healthy People 2010 initiatives underscore the priority of reducing minority health disparities. To reduce health disparities, there has been recent emphasis on recruiting and retaining minority populations in clinical research studies. However, little information is available to guide researchers in the evaluation of impediments in successful recruitment and retention of young African American women. A first step is for researchers to report information concerning the efficacy of recruiting/retaining methods in order to facilitate minority participation in clinical trials and, ultimately, reduce health disparities. This report summarizes existing recruitment and retention methods from the literature, and describes how effective these strategies were in recruiting and retaining young, mildly hypertensive African American women to a physical activity intervention study. Multiple strategies, resources, and time were necessary to recruit and retain these women for the study. Among women enrolled, newspaper advertisements and flyers were the most effective recruiting strategies implemented (46% and 21%, respectively). Study retention was high (96%), which may have resulted from flexible scheduling, frequent contact, and a caring environment. Recruiting and retaining efforts need to be tailored to meet the needs of the target population.

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