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SAGE Press Release - Dieting with the Denomination, Determination
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Dieting with the Denomination, Determination

Weight management programs for African American Women are more successful if held in a church, first attempts at weight loss

Los Angeles, CA (February 3, 2012) As a brand new year gets underway, people all over America are resolving to better manage their weight and have a more healthy 2012. According to a new study, those starting new weight loss programs may be surprised to find out that both location and level of experience may influence their success. A recent article published in The Journal of Black Psychology (a journal from the Association of Black Psychologists, published by SAGE) finds that African American women beginning a new group weight loss program are more successful if they are less experienced with weight management and if the program meets in a church.

The authors of this new study monitored two groups of women in the same weight loss program. One group met weekly at a university and the other group met in a church. After 13 weeks, they found that the women meeting in the church setting lost a greater percentage of weight than those who met at the university. Additionally, those women who set out to change their eating and exercise practices for the first time lost a greater percentage of weight than women who had experience managing their weight.

Researchers Tracy Sbrocco, Robyn Osborn, Robert D. Clark, Chiao-Wen Hsiao, and Michele M. Carter studied 55 African American women, ages 18 to 55, involved in a 13-week weight-management program designed to promote long-term diet and exercise practices that produce moderate but lasting weight loss. Of these 55 women, 19 met together in a church and 36 met at a medical school in the area. All participants were weighed and had physical fitness tests at pre- and post-treatment.

The authors provided possible explanations for their findings by stating that women with weight-loss experience may find it more difficult to lose weight when starting a new program because they are less likely to seek and accept social support for their efforts and are unable to shake the bad habits that they have learned in past weight-loss programs. Furthermore, they explained that churches are familiar environments that are conducive to lending encouragement and support.

"Church-based groups have a built-in social support system that allows members to see each other, check in, and follow up on behavior changes," noted the authors. "Whereas individuals who attended the university often rushed into groups as they began and left as soon as the groups ended, individuals in the church setting were more likely to linger before and after group times."

The article entitled "Assessing the Stages of Change Among African American Women in a Weight Management Program" from the Journal of Black Psychology is available free for a limited time at: http://jbp.sagepub.com/content/38/1/81.full.pdf+html

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The Journal of Black Psychology (JBP) presents the most innovative peer-reviewed, empirical, theoretical, and methodological research on the behavior and experiences of Black and other populations from Black or Afrocentric perspectives. The journal offers complete and balanced coverage of the latest advances through original articles and special features such as Research Briefs, Essays, Commentary, and Media Reviews. http://jbp.sagepub.com/

Impact Factor: .956

Ranked: 68 out of 120 in Multidisciplinary Psychology

Source: 2010 Journal Citation Reports® (Thomson Reuters, 2011)

The Association of Black Psychologists was founded in San Francisco in 1968 by a number of Black Psychologists from across the country. They united to actively address the serious problems facing Black Psychologists and the larger Black community. Guided by the principle of self determination, these psychologists set about building an institution through which they could address the long neglected needs of Black Professionals. The Association of Black Psychologists has grown from a handful of concerned professionals into an independent, autonomous organization of over 1400 members. http://www.abpsi.org/

SAGE is a leading international publisher of journals, books, and electronic media for academic, educational, and professional markets. Since 1965, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students spanning a wide range of subject areas including business, humanities, social sciences, and science, technology, and medicine. An independent company, SAGE has principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC. www.sagepublications.com

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Ashley Loar
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