- Centers and Programs
A weight loss intervention for African American breast cancer survivors, 2006
Introduction: Breast cancer survival rates are lower for African American women than for white women. Obesity, high-fat diets, and lack of regular physical activity increase risk for breast cancer recurrence, comorbid conditions, and premature death. Eighty-two percent of African American women are overweight or obese, partly because of unhealthy eating and exercise patterns. Although successful weight loss and lifestyle interventions for breast cancer survivors are documented, none has considered the needs of African American breast cancer survivors. This study assessed the feasibility and impact of Moving Forward, a culturally tailored weight loss program for African American breast cancer survivors. Methods: The study used a pre-post design with a convenience sample of 23 African American breast cancer survivors. The 6-month intervention was theory-based and incorporated qualitative data from focus groups with the targeted community, urban African American breast cancer survivors. Data on weight, body mass index (BMI), diet, physical activity, social support, and quality of life were collected at baseline and at 6 months. Results: After the intervention, we noted significant differences in weight, BMI, dietary fat intake, vegetable consumption, vigorous physical activity, and social support. Conclusion: This is the first published report of Moving Forward, a weight loss intervention designed for African American breast cancer survivors. Although a randomized trial is needed to establish efficacy, the positive results of this intervention suggest that this weight loss intervention may be feasible for African American breast cancer survivors. Lifestyle interventions may reduce the disparities in breast cancer mortality rates.