Faith-Based Intervention Facilitates Lifestyle Change

Older African-American women in program walk more weekly, have reduction in blood pressure
By Monica Smith
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Sisters in Motion, a faith-based intervention designed to increase walking and lower blood pressure in older, sedentary African-American women appears to be effective, according to research published in the October issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Obidiugwu Kenrik Duru, M.D., of the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues examined outcomes in 62 inactive African-American women 60 or older randomized to an intervention (Sisters in Motion) or control group. The intervention included scripture readings, prayer, goal-setting, a community resource guide, and walking companions. Both groups took part in physical activity sessions.

After six months, the researchers found that intervention participants had increased their weekly average of pedometer-measured steps by 9,883 from the baseline average of 12,727. Nonintervention subjects increased average steps by 2,426. Intervention subjects also experienced an average decrease in systolic blood pressure of 12.5 mm Hg compared with an average decrease of 1.5 mm Hg in the controls.

"The Sisters in Motion intervention led to an increase in walking and a decrease in systolic blood pressure at six months. This is the first randomized controlled trial of a faith-based physical activity program to increase physical activity in older African-American women and represents an attractive approach to stimulate lifestyle change in this population," the authors write.

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