Assessing the health attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of African Americans attending church: a comparison from two communities

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Lewis, Rhonda K.
Green, B. Lee

Journal of community health. 2000 Jun; 25(3): 211-24.


Public health officials and researchers continue to be increasingly concerned about the health of populations of color, especially African Americans. A survey was administered in African American churches in two communities (Wichita, KS and Tuscaloosa, AL) to gather information concerning health behaviors and beliefs and to design interventions that might improve their health status. The study examined the homogeneity of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors across these samples and to determine the readiness to change using the Transtheoritical Model. Individuals completed a 33-item survey: 6 demographic questions, 12 health behavior questions, 8 health belief questions, 3 church attendance questions, and 4 church-based health promotion program questions. The total sample consisted of 429 respondents. The results showed that 93% of respondents have had their blood pressure checked in the past 2 years. While only 44% indicated eating a high fiber diet during the week. Thirty percent of respondents indicated that their health was dependent on fate or destiny. The findings from this study confirm that among both samples that health attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors need to be changed to lower the risk of certain diseases and disorders. The findings also indicate that both samples have similar beliefs about health that may have important implications for disseminating information to the community. Innovative and culturally sensitive programs are needed in the African American community if disparities in health are to diminish.

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