Using a faith-based and community-based participatory research approach, the OASIS (Obesity and Stress in South Asians) Project seeks to elucidate the clinical, behavioral, social and cultural mechanisms that link acculturation, stress, and obesity in South Asian populations in New York City (NYC) and to explore the potential efficacy of faith-based strategies for health promotion and disease prevention in these communities.
The Specific Aims of this five-year study include:To establish an infrastructure for health promotion and disease prevention among faith-based organizations serving Asian American communities in NYC;To translate and adapt and evidence-based faith-based intervention proven effective in other racial and ethnic minority communities for the Asian American community;and To evaluate the efficacy and effectiveness of the adapted intervention to improve physical activity and reduce the risk for obesity and obesity-related diseases among South Asian communities. We will review faith-based intervention components found to be effective in the African American community and work with religious leaders and community partners to identify those strategies that could be replicated and are deemed acceptable and appropriate within the cultural context of Asian American communities. We will then translate and adapt these components in culturally- and linguistically-appropriate strategies and messages that fit with the goals of the participating religious institutions and for the communities they serve. Critical to the process of meaningful translation and effective adoption of the intervention is the following activities: a) conduct formative research;b) apply a CBPR approach;c) secure faith-based leadership support and guidance in intervention design;d) develop appropriate messaging and educational campaigns;e) support environmental and policy changes;and f) strengthen capacity of religious and community leaders at participating faith-based organizations to fully engage in research, as well as health promotion (including for example, effective messaging and communication). We will be able to identify successful components that can be generalized across different Asian ethnic and religious groups.

Public Health Relevance

The project aims to adapt an evidence-based faith interventions to reduce obesity and obesity-related conditions, which has not been done in this community. By targeting two South Asian sub-groups within two different faith settings, we will be able to examine the barriers and facilitators for effective adoption of these strategies across contexts. We will be able to identify successful components that can be generalized across different Asian ethnic groups and different religious and cultural contexts.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Comprehensive Center (P60)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZMD1-RN)
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New York University
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