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Dietary and behavioral needs of special populations are rarely considered in traditional weight loss programs. This study assessed the impact of culturally-sensitive modifications to the Duke University Rice Diet weight loss program for African-American dieters. The study was a randomized modified cross-over study in which volunteers received either early or delayed weight loss intervention. Final outcomes were measured at 8 weeks. At the onset of the study, there were 56 African American participants, however, only 44 (79%) completed the study. The eight-week intervention was a modified 1000-calorie/day version of the Rice Diet. Modifications to the program included decreased cost, culturally-sensitive recipes, addressing attitudes about exercise, and including family members in weight loss efforts. Average weight loss for subjects completing the program was 14.8 pounds (SD = 6.8 pounds). BMI decreased from 37.8 kg/m2 to 35.3 kg/m2 (p < 0.01). Total cholesterol levels decreased from 199.2 mg/dL to 185.4 mg/dL (p < 0.01); systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased by 4.3 mmHg (p < 0.01) and 2.4 mmHg (p < 0.05), respectively. The control group showed no significant change in any outcome measures. We found that diet programs can be successfully tailored to incorporate the needs of African-Americans. Most importantly, these dietary program changes can lead to significant improvement in clinical parameters. Additional studies are necessary to determine the permanence of these short-term changes.