Promoting Healthy Behaviors in a South-side Chicago African-American church

Nature and scope of the project

African-Americans made up approximately 13.3% of the US population but up to 43% more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than any other population. Life expectancy of the African-American was 3.4 years shorter than white Americans.

Synthesis and analysis of supporting literature

American Heart Association (AHA) has provided advancement in the research of cardiovascular disease and its causes along with strategies to reduce its risk. A variety of methods such as workshops and other education tools have not yielded the full desired effect, a reduction for African-American with cardiovascular disease.

Project implementation

The overall purpose was to determine the feasibility and outcome of community-based inventions to improve health behaviors in African American using pre/post group design. Sample (n=15) included men and women from a church on the Southside of Chicago

Evaluation criteria

Healthy behaviors, increasing physical activity and changing nutritional attitude, were introduced using the AHA Life’s Simple Seven and My Life Check heart score.


Outcome showed high attendance and there was 100% completion rate. Positive trends at posttest were noted in increased physical activity and changes in nutritional intake. Increasing physical activity and changing dietary habits caused a change in the My Life Check heart scores. The differences in the pre and post intervention were placed in a paired t-test to determine whether the increase in heart health score is a statistically significant increase. The score changes show a p-value [Z = (p̂ – p0)/√ [p0(1-p0)/n] 0.001. These results show that there is a statistically significant change in heart health scores from pre-intervention to post-intervention. There was evidence that the use of pedometers, increased physical activity, and changes in dietary habits interventions was associated with lowering cardiovascular risk.


Findings suggest that the intervention was feasible and has the potential to improve health outcomes for this population. The project demonstrated a nurse’s commitment to providing primary care to an underserved population regardless of the setting. The overall health of the men and women of the Church are essential to the Church livelihood. More partner building activities for hospital/bedside nurses and community/faith-based nurses and increased partnerships with community-based agencies that do not employ nurses, i.e. churches are needed.



Promoting Healthy Behaviors in a South-side Chicago African-American church