Background: African Americans continue to have suboptimal cardiovascular health (CVH) related to diet and physical activity (PA) behaviors compared with White people. Mobile health (mHealth) interventions are innovative platforms to improve diet and PA and have the potential to mitigate these disparities. However, these are understudied among African Americans. Objective: This study aims to examine whether an mHealth lifestyle intervention is associated with improved diet and PA-related psychosocial factors in African Americans and whether these changes correlate with diet and PA behavioral change. Methods: This study is a retrospective analysis evaluating changes in diet and PA-related self-regulation, social support, perceived barriers, and CVH behaviors (daily fruit and vegetable intake and moderate-intensity PA [MPA] per week) in 45 African American adults (mean age 48.7 years, SD 12.9 years; 33/45, 73% women) enrolled in the FAITH! (Fostering African American Improvement in Total Health) app pilot study. The intervention is a 10-week, behavioral theory–informed, community-based mHealth lifestyle intervention delivered through a mobile app platform. Participants engaged with 3 core FAITH! app features: multimedia education modules focused on CVH with self-assessments of CVH knowledge, self-monitoring of daily fruit and vegetable intake and PA, and a sharing board for social networking. Changes in self-reported diet and PA-related self-regulation, social support, perceived barriers, and CVH behaviors were assessed by electronic surveys collected at baseline and 28 weeks postintervention. Changes in diet and PA-related psychosocial factors from pre- to postintervention were assessed using paired 2-tailed t tests. The association of changes in diet and PA-related psychosocial variables with daily fruit and vegetable intake and MPA per week was assessed using Spearman correlation. Associations between baseline and 28-week postintervention changes in diet and PA-related psychosocial measures and CVH behaviors with covariates were assessed by multivariable linear regression. Results: Participants reported improvements in 2 subscales of diet self-regulation (decrease fat and calorie intake, P=.01 and nutrition tracking, P<.001), one subscale of social support for healthy diet (friend discouragement, P=.001), perceived barriers to healthy diet (P<.001), and daily fruit and vegetable intake (P<.001). Improvements in diet self-regulation (increase fruit, vegetable, and grain intake, and nutrition tracking) and social support for healthy diet (friend encouragement) had moderate positive correlations with daily fruit and vegetable intake (r=0.46, r=0.34, and r=0.43, respectively). A moderate negative correlation was observed between perceived barriers to healthy diet and daily fruit and vegetable intake (r=−0.25). Participants reported increases in PA self-regulation (P<.001). Increase in social support subscales for PA (family and friend participation) had a moderate positive correlation with MPA per week (r=0.51 and r=0.61, respectively). Conclusions: Our findings highlight key diet and PA-related psychosocial factors to target in future mHealth lifestyle interventions aimed at promoting CVH in African Americans.
- African Americans
- Cardiovascular health disparities
- MHealth lifestyle intervention
- Mobile phone
- Physical activity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics