Background: Overall incidence of breast cancer is slightly lower, but mortality rates are higher, for Black women compared to White women. Higher body mass index (BMI), sedentary lifestyles, and lower compliance with recommended breast health behaviors may contribute to higher risk and mortality.
Methods: A randomized pilot intervention trial was conducted to assess feasibility and efficacy of a combined breast health/weight loss intervention for 64 overweight or obese Black women, ages 35-65. The primary objectives were to determine whether a 20-week (twice weekly) intervention could decrease weight and dietary fat intake and increase physical activity and breast self-exam (BSE) proficiency.
Results: The project was implemented in two cohorts and retention was high for both (96% and 89%, respectively). Both cohorts showed increased proficiency in BSE in the intervention versus the control group (2.4 vs. -0.4, P<0.05; 3.3 vs. -0.2, P<0.001, respectively), but only cohort 2 showed decreased percent body weight (4.0% decrease vs. 0.9% increase, P<0.01), increased physical activity frequency (2.4 vs. 0.1 times/week, P<0.05), and a trend for decreased dietary fat (-2.6% kcal vs. 0.0% kcal, P=0.07) in the intervention compared to the control group.
Conclusion: Few studies have documented weight loss among Black women, and no combined breast health/weight loss intervention has been conducted. This study documents the feasibility of recruiting, randomizing, and retaining women in a combined intervention and demonstrated weight loss and associated lifestyle changes.