Characteristics of Physical Activity among African American women in the Better Me Within Program




Taskin, Tanjila
Dodgen, Leilani
Iqbal, Ahmed
Kitzman-Ulrich, Heather PhD


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Background: African American (AA) women experience the highest rates of obesity at 57.2% compared to other groups in the United States (38.2% white women, 46.9% Hispanic women); and have the lowest levels of physical activity with only 30% of adult AA women meeting national aerobic guidelines compared to 44% of white women. Physical fitness is an important driver of health and may be even more critical than weight loss for improving health and longevity. A recent study demonstrated that individuals with good cardiorespiratory fitness, even with a BMI in the overweight or obese category (BMI [greater than] 25), had similar mortality rates to people whose BMI was in a healthy range (BMI Methods: Data were collected from participants in the BMW program (2013-2016). Variables were explored from five domains at baseline and 16 weeks to assess the relationship with physical activity (total weekly minutes) including: 1) Demographic characteristics (age, education, number of children, marital status, income, insurance); 2) Existing medical conditions (weight and height to calculate body mass index (BMI), cholesterol levels, waist circumference, blood pressure, hemoglobin A1C, and fasting glucose); 3) Health behaviors (smoking, drinking, sedentary time); 4) Mental conditions (body appreciation, physical activity and nutrition self-efficacy, confidence for exercise, mood, stress, and motivation for eating and exercise); and 5) Diet (fruit intake, vegetable intake, total calories, total fat, total carbohydrates, and total protein). Results: A total of 221 AA women were randomized to intervention or control (mean age=48.8+11.2; mean BMI=36.7+8.4; 52% technical or high school). There is a hypothesized positive effect expected between the intervention and physical activity between baseline and 16 week measures. Variables are being assessed through correlations and regressions to determine the effects on physical activity using SAS (version 9.4). The results will be expanded upon proper analysis. Conclusions: Increasing physical activity among AA women is critical to improving long term health and risk for chronic disease. This study will provide information to improve evidence-based lifestyle programs for AA women.


Research Appreciation Day Award Winner - 2017 School of Public Health & Public Health Student Association - 1st Place Poster Presentation