A comparative effectiveness education trial for lifestyle health behavior change in African-Americans

In Health Education Research, Chanita Hughes Halbert and colleagues, including Jerry Johnson, compared the effects of an education trial about risk factors for cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD) within an African-American community. Participants were randomized to receive either integrated education about shared risk factors between cancer and CVD, or disease-specific education about CVD risk factors only. The authors assessed whether the type of education received affected fruit and vegetable intake or physical activity level. They find that when participants with less than a high school degree are educated on shared risk factors for multiple chronic conditions, they are significantly more likely to meet recommended physical activity guidelines. This finding did not extend to those with greater than a high school degree. However, those who received CVD-only education also showed slight increases in physical activity, likely due to receiving at least some health education. Both groups experienced marginal, but not significant, increases in fruit and vegetable intake. These findings may be useful to future researchers assessing behavior change strategies in lifestyle interventions, and to public health providers offering education for health promotion.