Through the Aetna Foundation and partnering with the Institute for e-Health Equity, we worked with African American women to increase their knowledge and shift their mindsets around their habits about eating and exercising behavior. The project partnered with Reverends and Pastors in Black congregations because we also wanted to see whether there would be a congregation change as well as an individual one.
The goal was to see how using technology can improve health disparities within communities of color.
Using text messaging and call to action within the church congregation, we embedded technology with community education. For examples they got reminders and encouragement to go to fitness class.
There were increase in moderate physical activity and change in eating behavior. The qualitative data on attitudes indicated that participants wanted to get more health information and nutrition -- 87% of participants said they would continue if it was still available.
An important insight we uncovered was that the most influential people in the congregation was often not the pastor but certain members of the church.