Online Program

Fitness By Design - Results from a 5 year community based intervention

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 3:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Bankole A. Olatosi, PhD, MS, MPH, FACHE, Department of Health Services Policy & Management, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Burt Lewis, PhD, Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, University of Mount Olive, Mount Olive, NC
Background: North Carolina is the 17th highest ranked state for obese adults in the 2013 “F as in Fat” report. Targeted but effective healthy lifestyle promotion methods remain critical in rural Eastern NC, for the poor with limited or no access to exercise facilities/fitness regimens. In order to correct this social injustice and promote healthy living, Fitness by Design (FBD), a free regionally focused wellness project targeted low income adults at a high risk for obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes from 3 rural NC Counties over 5 years. 

Methods: The intervention included three fitness domains: Physical Activity, Nutrition and Social Support. Participants were enrolled based on having a physician referral and low-income status during screening. Study participants were primarily African American; on Medicaid with a mean BMI of 38.6 at entry into the program. 

Preliminary Results: Participants lost substantial inches from their waist circumference, while BMI dropped to a range of 28.3 - 48.5 over 5 years. Self-reported data showed increased participation in high strength training and Physical Activity greater than 30 mins at least three times per week. Dietary activity indicators showed more participants controlling their calorie intake and eating more vegetables. An unexpected but significant result reported were participants being taken off their depression and anxiety medications due to their improved health status.  

Discussion: The FBD program shows the impact enabling factors like fitness buddies, access to exercise equipment, nutrition workshops and a  recommendation can have in creating significant healthy lifestyle changes among low income at risk individuals in rural NC counties.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related education
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Discuss a three-pronged approach for healthy living targeted towards vulnerable population Assess program effectiveness in promoting a healthy lifestyle in three North Carolina rural counties Analyze the intervention for potential best practices

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator on this grant and also the project director. I also have expertise in health services research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.