BOSTON (Feb. 27, 2017)—Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Black/African American women in the US and more Black/African American women die every year from heart disease compared to their white and Hispanic counterparts, according to the Centers for Disease Control. A pilot study, led by researchers at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, aimed to address this disparity by investigating the impact of engaging Black/African American women in “Change Clubs” on measures of heart health. The results of the pilot study were published in BMC Public Health on Jan. 24.
Using the African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network (AACORN) model focused on engaging community members in the planning and implementation of interventions, the researchers collaborated with four local churches in predominately Black/African American Boston neighborhoods, and worked with participants to identify and address health concerns in their respective communities.
“The Change Clubs place the focus on the collective health of the community and champion the strengths of the Black/African American community. Through this pilot, we hoped to determine how feasible and effective the Change Clubs would be in changing the heart health-related behaviors among Black/African American women in order to expand this type of work in the future,” said lead author Alison G. M. Brown, M.S., doctoral candidate at the Friedman School. “Overall, the study results indicate that this civic engagement approach is a promising intervention tool to stimulate positive behavior change among Black/African American women.”