Fitness in minorities lack relevance

March 1, 2012 at 12:06 AM
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COLUMBIA, Mo., March 1 (UPI) -- Many U.S. researchers said they are concerned about getting minority populations to exercise more, but interventions are not culturally tailored.

Vicki Conn, associate dean for research and Potter-Brinton professor in the University of Missouri's Sinclair School of Nursing, found that minority adults who received exercise interventions increased their physical activity levels, but these interventions were not culturally adjusted to best assist them in improving overall health.

Conn and colleagues conducted an analysis of more than 100 studies that tested exercise interventions in 21,151 participants from minority populations. The majority of the supervised exercise studies included short-term programs with weekly exercise sessions, lasting an average of 12 weeks.

"In reviewing the studies, we were surprised at how infrequently the researchers culturally tailored the motivational interventions," Conn said in a statement. "For example, in the majority of interventions for African-Americans, there is no evidence that African-Americans helped design the study, recruit participants or deliver the programs."

People are always interested in whether exercise is going to help people lose weight, Conn said.

"Although we found small reductions in weight among study participants, perhaps more interesting is that throughout the 12-week studies, people in the control group gained weight," Conn said. "It could be that exercise is more important to prevent weight gain more so than to help people lose weight."

The findings were published in the current issue of the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.

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