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J Natl Med Assoc. 2005 October; 97(10): 1393–1402.
PMCID: PMC2594697

Results of a faith-based weight loss intervention for black women.


Obesity is a risk factor for a variety of chronic diseases. Although weight loss may reduce these risks, weight loss programs designed for black women have yielded mixed results. Studies suggest that religion/spirituality is a prominent component of black culture. Given this, the inclusion of religion/spirituality as an active component of a weight loss program may enhance the benefits of the program. The role of religion/spirituality, however, has not been specifically tested as a mechanism that enhances the weight loss process. This paper presents the results of "Faith on the Move," a randomized pilot study of a faith-based weight loss program for black women. The goals of the study were to estimate the effects of a 12-week culturally tailored, faith-based weight loss intervention on weight loss, dietary fat consumption and physical activity. The culturally tailored, faith-based weight loss intervention was compared to a culturally tailored weight loss intervention with no active faith component. Fifty-nine overweight/obese black women were randomized to one of the two interventions. Although the results were not statistically significant, the effect size suggests that the addition of the faith component improved results. These promising preliminary results will need to be tested in an adequately powered trial.

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