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African American women, eHealth, healthy lifestyle changes



  1. Staffileno, Beth A. PhD, FAHA
  2. Tangney, Christy C. PhD, CNS, FACN
  3. Fogg, Louis PhD
  4. Darmoc, Rebecca BS


Background: Less is known about young African American (AA) women, largely because the young are hard to reach. Traditional approaches to behavior changes interventions impose several challenges, especially for AA women at risk for developing hypertension.


Purpose: This feasibility study describes the process of transforming a face-to-face lifestyle change intervention into a Web-based platform (eHealth) accessible by iPads, iPhones, smartphones, and personal computers.


Methods: Four sequential phases were conducted using elements of formative evaluation and quantitative analysis. A convenience sample of AA women, aged 18 to 45 years, with self-reported prehypertension and regular access to the Internet were eligible to participate.


Results: Eleven women involved in phase 1 expressed that they (1) currently use the Internet to retrieve health-related information, (2) prefer to use the Internet rather than face-to-face contact for nonserious conditions, (3) need convenience and easily accessible health-related interventions, and (4) are amenable to the idea of an eHealth lifestyle modification program. During phase 2, learning modules derived from printed manuals were adapted and compressed for a Web audience. The modules were designed to present evidence-based content but allowed for tailoring and individualization according to the needs of the target population. During phase 3, 8 women provided formative information concerning appeal and usability of the eHealth program in relation to delivery, visual quality, interactivity, and engagement. Phase 4 involved 8 women beta testing the 12-week program, with a 63% completion rate. Most of the women agreed that the program and screens opened with ease, the functions on the screens did what they were supposed to do, and the discussion board was easy to access. Program completion was greater for physical activity compared with dietary content.


Conclusion: This study outlines a step-by-step process for transforming face-to-face content into a Web-based platform, which, importantly, can serve as a template for promoting other health behaviors.