Background: Increased prevalence of overweight and obesity among Appalachian residents may contribute to increased cancer rates in this region. This manuscript describes the design, components, and participant baseline characteristics of a faith-based study to decrease overweight and obesity among Appalachian residents. Methods: A group randomized study design was used to assign 13 churches to an intervention to reduce overweight and obesity (Walk by Faith) and 15 churches to a cancer screening intervention (Ribbons of Faith). Church members with a body mass index (BMI) ≥. 25 were recruited from these churches in Appalachian counties in five states to participate in the study. A standard protocol was used to measure participant characteristics at baseline. The same protocol will be followed to obtain measurements after completion of the active intervention phase (12. months) and the sustainability phase (24. months). Primary outcome is change in BMI from baseline to 12. months. Secondary outcomes include changes in blood pressure, waist-to-hip ratio, and fruit and vegetable consumption, as well as intervention sustainability. Results: Church members (n. = 664) from 28 churches enrolled in the study. At baseline 64.3% of the participants were obese (BMI. ≥. 30), less than half (41.6%) reported regular exercise, and 85.5% reported consuming less than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Conclusions: Church members recruited to participate in a faith-based study across the Appalachian region reported high rates of unhealthy behaviors. We have demonstrated the feasibility of developing and recruiting participants to a faith-based intervention aimed at improving diet and increasing exercise among underserved populations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pharmacology (medical)