The goal of the prospective Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2) was to examine the relationship between diet and risk of breast, prostate and colon cancers in Black and White participants. This paper describes the study design, recruitment methods, response rates, and characteristics of Blacks in the AHS-2, thus providing insights about effective strategies to recruit Blacks to participate in research studies.
We designed a church-based recruitment model and trained local recruiters who used various strategies to recruit participants in their churches. Participants completed a 50-page self-administered dietary and lifestyle questionnaire.
Participants are Black Seventh-day Adventists, aged 30–109 years, and members of 1,209 Black churches throughout the United States and Canada.
Approximately 48,328 Blacks from an estimated target group of over 90,000 signed up for the study and 25,087 completed the questionnaire, comprising about 26% of the larger 97,000 AHS-2-member cohort. Participants were diverse in age, geographic location, education, and income. Seventy percent were female with a median age of 59 years.
In spite of many recruitment challenges and barriers, we successfully recruited a large cohort whose data should provide some answers as to why Blacks have poorer health outcomes than several other ethnic groups, and help explain existing health disparities.