Assessing the stages of change among African American women in a weight management program
Many people have resolved to better manage their weight and have a more healthy 2012. This study reveals those starting new weight loss programs may be surprised to find out that both location and level of experience may influence their success. It 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.
Two groups of women in the same weight loss program were monitored. 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. Possible explanations offered for the findings are 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.