Open Access Highly Accessed Research

SisterTalk: final results of a culturally tailored cable television delivered weight control program for Black women

Patricia Markham Risica1, Kim M Gans1*, Shiriki Kumanyika2, Usree Kirtania1 and Thomas M Lasater1

Author Affiliations

1 Institute for Community Health Promotion, Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA

2 The Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, CCEB, 8 Blockley Hall, 423 Guardian Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2013, 10:141  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-10-141

Published: 27 December 2013

Abstract

Background

Obesity among Black women continues to exceed that of other women. Most weight loss programs created without reference to specific cultural contexts are less effective for Black than White women. Weight control approaches accessible to Black women and adapted to relevant cultural contexts are important for addressing this problem. This paper reports the final results of SisterTalk, the randomized controlled trial of a cable TV weight control program oriented toward Black women.

Methods

A five group design included a comparison group and a 2 × 2 factorial comparison of a) interactive vs. passive programming and b) telephone social support vs no telephone support, with 12 weekly initial cable TV programs followed by 4 monthly booster videos. At baseline, 3, 8, and 12 months post randomization, telephone and in person surveys were administered on diet, physical activity, and physical measurements of height and weight were taken to calculate body mass index (BMI). Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to examine differences over time, and between treatment and comparison groups. Dose variables reflecting use of the TV/video and written materials were also assessed.

Results

At 3 months, BMI, weight, and dietary fat were significantly lower and physical activity significantly higher among women exposed to the Cable TV intervention compared to the wait-list comparison group. Significant dietary fat differences were still observed at 8 and 12 month evaluations, but not BMI or physical activity differences. Main effects were not observed for interactive programming or enhanced social support at any time point. Within the intervention group, higher watching of the TV series and higher reading of educational materials were both (separately) associated with significantly lower dietary fat.

Conclusions

Cable TV was an effective delivery channel to assist Black women with weight control, increasing physical activity and decreasing dietary fat during an initial intervention period, but only dietary changes persisted Enhanced social support and the ability to interact with others during the show were not effective complementary intervention components as conducted in this trial. Future research to strengthen the ability of this approach to achieve long term effects may offer even more promising outcomes.

Keywords:
Obesity; Overweight; Weight control; Black; African American; Women; Intervention; Randomized controlled trial; Cable TV