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A Partnership to Promote Physical Activity and Healthy Eating in AME Churches

Phase 3
18 Years
Open (Enrolling)

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Trial Information

A Partnership to Promote Physical Activity and Healthy Eating in AME Churches

Many obesity-related diseases, including diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, occur more
frequently in ethnic minorities than in Caucasians. African Americans have an extremely high
church attendance rate, making church-based interventions a viable method to reach a wide
audience and positively influence health habits and behaviors. The most effective way to
prevent or reverse the effects of obesity is through weight loss, which can be accomplished
by increasing physical activity and following a low fat and low sodium diet that emphasizes
fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Few programs have been developed that have
specifically examined the effects of a church-based physical activity and dietary
intervention. This study will encourage church leaders to assist in the development of a
health promotion program that will incorporate the church's social, cultural, and policy
influences. The purpose of the study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention on
increasing physical activity, improving blood pressure levels, and promoting healthy dietary
habits among church members. The importance of pastor support and participation will be
evaluated, and the results from this study may be used to develop additional church-based
interventions across a larger geographic area.

In Year 1 of this 5-year study, representatives from the Palmetto Conference of the African
Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and three state universities in South Carolina will
participate in monthly planning sessions to develop the intervention. Local health
committees and church pastors and cooks will be trained to implement the program. The
18-month intervention will occur in three waves; where at least 60 churches will be randomly
assigned to participate in either the immediate intervention or delayed intervention. The
program will emphasize increased physical activity and the adaptation of a healthy diet that
includes low fat and low sodium foods, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. At baseline and
Month 18, blood pressure will be measured, and physical activity levels and fruit and
vegetable intake will be assessed for some church members. Additionally, throughout the
study, some participants will wear an accelerometer, which is a small device that measures
physical activity levels.

Inclusion Criteria:

- Member of a church in the Palmetto Conference of the 7th Episcopal District of the
AME Church

- Attends church services or events at least once per month

Exclusion Criteria:

- Planning to move in the 18 months following study entry

Type of Study:


Study Design:

Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment, Masking: Single Blind (Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Prevention

Outcome Measure:

Blood pressure

Outcome Time Frame:

15 months

Safety Issue:


Principal Investigator

Sara Wilcox, PhD

Investigator Role:

Principal Investigator

Investigator Affiliation:

University of South Carolina


United States: Federal Government

Study ID:




Start Date:

July 2006

Completion Date:

March 2011

Related Keywords:

  • Obesity
  • Physical Activity
  • Exercise
  • Dietary Habits
  • Obesity



African Methodist Episcopal Churches in South Carolina Lane, South Carolina  29564