Non-Hispanic blacks, particularly those living in the rural Deep South, are disproportionately impacted by a myriad of chronic medical conditions associated with obesity and healthy lifestyle behaviors (diet, physical activity) including cancer, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Mounting evidence has tracked body mass index (BMI) and unhealthy behaviors from childhood to adulthood to increasing chronic disease later in life. This is particularly salient as 1 in 3 low-income children are overweight or obese before their 5th birthday. As such, early interventions targeting the most vulnerable groups are needed. My Mommy and Me: A Head Start at Reducing Health Disparities is a collaborative partnership between the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Sumter County Opportunity, Inc. that will utilize Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) to plan and pilot a health promotion intervention for African American children enrolled in Head Start in rural Alabama and their families.
The aims of the study are: (1) establish and maintain an academic-community partnership to help reduce health disparities in the Black Belt of Alabama;(2) identify community assets, needs, and opportunities in order to identify a community-relevant intervention to reduce health disparities in the region;(3) implement and evaluate a pilot intervention relevant to reductions in health disparities in the region;and (4) disseminate study findings and assess the strength of the academic- community partnership, pilot intervention findings, and continued community interest to support a full randomized trial of the selected intervention to reduce health disparities.
Mounting evidence has tracked body mass index (BMI) and unhealthy behaviors from childhood to adulthood to increasing chronic disease later in life. Early intervention with children at highest risk (e.g., low-income, African American, rural residents) may slow or reverse the trajectory of chronic disease in this population.