To assess patterns of recruitment into a community-based NCI-funded physical activity and dietary lifestyle change program targeting African-American women. Acquisition of a convenience sample to be screened for participation in a randomized, controlled prevention intervention. African-American-owned and -operated health club located in an area of Los Angeles in which African Americans are concentrated. 893 African-American women. Recruitment strategies: Social networking/word-of-mouth, staff presentations, mass and targeted media, and physician referral. Main outcome measure: Completion of screening questionnaire indicating a desire to enroll in the study. Screening questionnaire domains included self-reported height and weight, recent participation in organized weight loss programs, ability to walk one mile unassisted, current medication use, smoking status, personal medical history of cancer, sociodemographic variables, and recruitment source. Sociodemographic and anthropometric characteristics distinguished between respondents obtained through different recruitment strategies. In particular, women with a higher body mass index (BMI) were more likely than those with lower BMIs (P = .014) to be recruited through more personalized methods (eg, social networking). Culturally tailored recruitment strategies are critical in securing the participation of members of "hard-to-reach" populations, who are both under-represented in health promotion research and at high risk for chronic diseases. (Ethn Dis. 2001;11:115-123).