Using formative research to develop a worksite health promotion program for African American women

Academic Article


  • Objectives: To describe the development of a culturally appropriate worksite health promotion program (WHPP) designed to promote increased physical activity and improved nutrition in a high risk group of African American women. Methods: The program was based on EatRight, which is a lifestyle-oriented weight control program that focuses on food volume, rather than calories. Formative research included four nominal group technique (NGT) sessions conducted with 14 African American women from the selected worksite to gather input on job factors that affected their weight and daily life factors that affected their amount of physical activity. Their responses were used to adapt existing EatRight materials to target areas of special need for this unique group. Results: Themes emerged from the NGT sessions that indicated stress at work and an environment of unhealthy eating, in addition to social eating and lack of social support for healthy eating added to unhealthy eating patterns at work. In response to physical activity, the primary themes included lack of time to exercise, stress of multiple family roles and responsibilities, and perceived physical barriers to physical activity. Discussion: Based on the NGT themes, EatRight materials were adapted and additional topics (e.g., increasing social support, overcoming limitations, and time management) were included to develop a WHPP that addressed issues that the participants identified as relevant for their work and home lives. Conducting the NGT sessions and EatRight classes in the work environment, we were able to provide a convenient, familiar environment which fostered social support among participants. We believe that a culturally appropriate modification of EatRight holds great promise in addressing health disparities seen among African American women by offering education on lifestyle changes that will decrease weight through nutrition and physical activity. © 2008 by The Haworth Press. All rights reserved.
  • Published In

  • Women and Health  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 9397883
  • Author List

  • Zunker C; Cox TL; Wingo BC; Knight B; Jefferson WK; Ard JD
  • Start Page

  • 189
  • End Page

  • 207
  • Volume

  • 48
  • Issue

  • 2