Weight control for low-income black and Hispanic women
Smith, Suzanne B.
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Small-scaled studies of a free weight control program for low-income, low-literate black women were conducted with intact groups from a literacy program or a recreational center. The program was then modified, translated into Spanish, and pilot-tested with Hispanic women at two churches. The 11 weekly sessions included nutrition education and behavior modification. The 31 women in the black treatment group lost 3.1 pounds overall (0.29 pounds per week) while their 14 controls lost 0.3 pounds (0.03 pounds per week). At three weeks follow-up, the black treatment group gained 0.5 pounds. The 20 women in the Hispanic treatment group lost 8. 7 pounds overall (0.80 pounds per week) while their 14 controls gained 0.8 pounds (0.07 pounds per week). The adjusted final weight of the Hispanic treatment group was significantly less than that of the Hispanic and black control groups (p < .05, Scheff~). At three weeks follow-up, the Hispanic treatment group lost another pound. The black treatment group scored significantly higher on the nutrition knowledge post-test than their controls (p < .05, Scheffe); scores improved by 18.4 and 2.9 percent, respect i vely. Food diaries were completed with colored stickers or pencil s 57.1 percent of the time. Attrition was 28 percent. Weight loss wa s greater as attendance and diary completion increased (r = -0.43 and -0.42, respectively; p < .05, Spearman). The black treatment group indicated that the pamphlets, diary, and weekly weigh-ins, along with the topics of "tips for eating less," "exercise," and "cooking methods" had helped the most. The Hispanic treatment group scored significantly higher on the post- test than their controls (p < .01, Scheffe); scores improved by 25.3 and 0.0 percent, respectively. The diary completion rate was 94.6 percent. Attrition was 54.6 percent. The Hispanic treatment group indicated that the diary, weekly weigh-ins, and tasting low-calorie f oods, a long wit h the topics of "serving sizes" and "choosing low-calorie foods" had helped the most. Results indicated that the program significantly increased the nutrition knowledge of both black and Hispanic participants. In addition, the program significantly decreased the weight of Hispanic participants.