Multiple Behavior Change Among Church Members Taking Part in theFaith, Activity, and NutritionProgram

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Abstract

Objective:

To examine the extent to which participants in a combined physical activity (PA) and dietary intervention achieved changes in multiple health behaviors.

Design:

Group randomized trial; includes only participants assigned to the intervention group only.

Setting:

Thirty-six churches in South Carolina.

Participants:

Three hundred sixty African American church members.

Intervention:

A 15-month PA and dietary intervention, guided by the structural ecological model, targeting environmental (ie, social, cultural, physical) and organizational (ie, policies, practices) changes within the church.

Main Outcome Measures:

Self-reported PA, fruit and vegetable consumption, fat-, and fiber-related behaviors.

Analysis:

Change in each behavior was defined as unadjusted pretest–posttest improvement ≥ 0.20 of the baseline standard deviation. The total number and each combination of behaviors changed were calculated.

Results:

Up to 19% changed no health behaviors as defined above, 31% changed 1 health behavior, 31% changed 2 health behaviors, 13% changed 3 health behaviors, and 5% changed all 4 of the targeted health behaviors. Combinations of multiple behavior change included PA and dietary behaviors, which suggests that both behaviors can be changed simultaneously.

Conclusions and Implications:

Nearly half of participants changed at least 2 health behaviors. Faith-based interventions targeting environmental and organizational change can successfully change multiple behaviors, potentially leading to greater improvements in public health.

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