A Church-Based Project in Gadsden and Leon Counties to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk in African Americans


This project focuses on reducing cardiovascular risk factors in mid-life and older African Americans through implementing and evaluating an 18-month church-based health program. The project involves participants at six churches in Gadsden and Leon Counties.


 Desired Project Outcomes

  • Increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, and calcium rich foods
  • Increased habitual physical activity
  • Decreased consumption of fat, sugar, and sodium
  • Improvement in blood pressure, body weight, blood sugars and other clinical indicators


Importance of Project

African Americans have high rates of cardiovascular disease (heart disease and strokes) which result in illness and death. Diet, physical activity and lifestyle factors can reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease.


Funding Source

National Center of Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institutes of Health


Research Team

  • Penny A. Ralston, Ph.D., Florida State University 
  • Cynthia M. Harris, Ph.D., Florida A&M University
  • Jasminka Ilich-Ernst, Ph.D., Florida State University
  • K.A.S. Wickrama, Ph.D., Iowa State University


Contacts for Information

Penny A. Ralston, Ph.D.

(850) 645-8110 (Phone)

(850) 645-8109 (fax)


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