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African Americans and Latinos set goals for healthy lifestyles

The Issue

The African-American and Latino communities are disproportionately affected by obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and stroke. Eliminating the health disparities associated with chronic diseases requires culturally appropriate and effective interventions that address the individual’s role in self-management and the community’s role in supporting self-care. Goal setting has been reported to be successful because it directs an individual’s attention toward a goal, encourages them to complete the goal, and forces them to alter their status quo to complete that goal.

What Has ANR Done?

UC Cooperative Extension advisors, specialists, and community health program representatives designed and delivered a Healthy Rewards program among African-American and Latino populations. The African-American community in Sacramento County and Latino communities in Solano and Yolo counties were randomized in two groups. Group one received the basic nutrition education without goal setting and group two received the basic nutrition education with goal setting. All groups received some physical activity education. Participants attended four two-hour weekly sessions over the course of one month and a follow-up celebration lesson three to four weeks after the last lesson. The nutrition education lessons took place in group settings, using a learner-centered approach and adult learning theory.

The Payoff

Goal setting leads to a healthy lifestyle

Thirty-nine participants were enrolled in the program and 31 completed both pre- and post-evaluations. The outcomes from this community-based project show goal setting was effective to promote participant behavior change.

Overall, the group reported significant changes in attitudes and behaviors related to use of food labels, physical activity and portion control. However, the group that set goals reported even greater changes, particularly in using the Nutrition Facts label to make better food choices.

The potential improvement in health and well-being of the community members who participated in this project means the community as a whole wins. Community leaders have reported that participants have demonstrated a change in food choices and preparation methods toward a healthier lifestyle.

Clientele Testimonial

"I will read more labels, get a get more exercise, change my eating habit. Eat smaller protions."

"I lost couple pounds plus some inches."

"I will share with friends and keep binder as a refresher."


Supporting Unit: Human & Community Development

Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences
Gloria Barrett, (916) 875-6520, gjbarrett@ucdavis.edu

Anna Martin, (209) 953-6121, acmartin@ucdavis.edu