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Project HEAL (Healthy Eating and Activity for Life): Proposing a Faith-Based Health Education and Lifestyle Intervention for Rural African Americans

Brown, Natasha Ann (2007) Project HEAL (Healthy Eating and Activity for Life): Proposing a Faith-Based Health Education and Lifestyle Intervention for Rural African Americans. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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African Americans, particularly those who reside in rural areas, are at increased risk of developing several preventable health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and overweight/obesity. Because of several professional and personal experiences, I was inspired to use this thesis as an opportunity to propose an intervention that addresses these preventable health conditions. The proposed intervention, Project HEAL (Healthy Eating and Activity for Life), is a faith-based, theory driven education and comprehensive lifestyle management intervention for rural African Americans. This program is of public health importance because it may be particularly useful in positively impacting the health of rural African Americans, a traditionally hard-to-reach population, and in significantly reducing racial/ethnic and geographic health disparities.Project HEAL is informed by the Social Cognitive Theory and Health Belief Model. These theories were chosen because of their emphasis on self-efficacy, the individual, and the environment. Much of the content of Project HEAL was derived from the curriculum of the evidence-based lifestyle modification intervention of the Diabetes Prevention Program. The Project HEAL curriculum is a modified version that addresses specific constructs of the previously mentioned theories and that is more appropriate for rural African Americans churches and for small group settings. To ensure a comprehensive evaluation of the program, Project HEAL's evaluation strategy will be guided by the Reach, Efficacy, Adoption, and Implementation, and Maintenance framework for health behavior programs.Project HEAL will be implemented with the guidance of an advisory committee and with the help of lay health educators. Therefore, while this thesis describes the Project HEAL development and implementation in detail, there are several aspects of the program will need additional modifications to suit the participating church and its congregants. It is my sincere wish to implement this program to determine its feasibility and translatability to public health policy and research regarding rural African Americans.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Brown, Natasha
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairJaros, Kennethkjaros@pitt.eduKJAROS
Committee MemberKriska, AndreaKriskaA@edc.pitt.eduAKY
Committee MemberButler, Jamesjbutler9@pitt.eduJBUTLER9
Date: 28 June 2007
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 4 April 2007
Approval Date: 28 June 2007
Submission Date: 5 April 2007
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: program evaluation; community-based interventions; health program curriculums
Other ID:, etd-04052007-193055
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:34
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:38


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