Date of Defense:
August 20, 2012
Backgound: Of importance to public health is reducing health disparities and improving the health of minority populations. African Americans are at a higher risk than other ethnicities for cancers, hypertension, obesity and diabetes. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables improves good health and reduces the incidence of these diseases.
Methods:The Pilot Phase of the Body and Soul program was a Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) intervention to increase fruit and vegetable intake in African Americans in the Twin Cities. It was implemented by the Center for Health Equity at the University of Minnesota and Stairstep foundation, a community based organization. The main component of the intervention was the use of Motivational Interviewing to encourage participants to increase their intake of fruits and vegetables. An ecological model was used to achieve behavioral change at the individual, interpersonal, organizational and community levels.
Results: Of significance to the health of the family was the potential benefit of reducing cancers, diabetes, obesity and hypertension. In addition, the program also had the potential benefit of improving women’s health by reducing the risk of cancers and hypertension. The preliminary findings from the pilot phase of the program showed that the intervention was effective in helping participants to achieve a significant intake of fruits.
Conclusion: Implementing the program on a larger scale could have a public health impact to reduce the incidence of cancer, hypertension, diabetes and obesity in a minority population.