Fostering Healthy Lifestyles in the African American Population

Mary Murimi, Matthew S. Chrisman, Tiffany McAllister, Olevia D. McDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Approximately 8.3% of the U.S. population (25.8 million people) is affected by type 2 diabetes. The burden of diabetes is disproportionately greater in the African American community. Compared with non-Hispanic Caucasian adults, the risk of diagnosed type 2 diabetes was 77% higher among non-Hispanic Blacks, who are 27% more likely to die of diabetes complications than either Caucasians or Hispanics. The purpose of this longitudinal community intervention was to promote healthy lifestyles among African American participants through multiple channels, including individualized point-of-testing counseling, and weekly exercise and nutrition classes led by trained community health mentors. Data collection procedures were guided by the World Health Organization’s STEPS approach, which includes gathering demographic and health information, collecting anthropometric measurements, and analyzing biochemical blood work. Changes in body mass index were assessed from in-person measurements and changes in blood lipids and glucose were examined by biochemical analyses. A total of 157 individuals participated in this study. Results showed that weight gain during the intervention was prevented, glucose levels decreased (−10.88 mg/dL), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol decreased (−8.8 mg/dL), while high-density lipoprotein increased (+3.2 mg/dL). Lifestyle interventions and point-of-testing counseling can be successful in reducing risk factors for type 2 diabetes among the African American population. The results of this intervention indicate that the use of community health mentors and point-of-testing counseling may be effective in fostering healthy lifestyle changes, which can halt the progression of type 2 diabetes among non-Hispanic Black populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-116
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Education and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 17 2015


  • African American
  • lifestyle intervention
  • point-of-testing counseling
  • type 2 diabetes


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