Systematic review of behavioural interventions with culturally adapted strategies to improve diet and weight outcomes in African American women

Obes Rev. 2014 Oct;15 Suppl 4:62-92. 
Authors: Kong A, Tussing-Humphreys LM, Odoms-Young AM, Stolley MR, Fitzgibbon ML.

Behavioural interventions incorporating features that are culturally salient to African American women have emerged as one approach to address the high rates of obesity in this group. Yet, the systematic evaluation of this research is lacking. This review identified culturally adapted strategies reported in behavioural interventions using a prescribed framework and examined the effectiveness of these interventions for diet and weight outcomes among African American women. Publications from 1 January 1990 through 31 December 2012 were retrieved from four databases, yielding 28 interventions. Seventeen of 28 studies reported significant improvements in diet and/or weight change outcomes in treatment over comparison groups. The most commonly identified strategies reported were 'sociocultural' (reflecting a group's values and beliefs) and 'constituent involving' (drawing from a group's experiences). Studies with significant findings commonly reported constituent-involving strategies during the formative phases of the intervention. Involving constituents early on may uncover key attributes of a target group and contribute to a greater understanding of the heterogeneity that exists even within racial/ethnic groups. Available evidence does not, however, explain how culturally adapted strategies specifically influence outcomes. Greater attention to defining and measuring cultural variables and linking them to outcomes or related mediators are important next steps.

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