Reach-out: a family-based diabetes prevention program for African American youth

J Natl Med Assoc. 2011 Mar;103(3):269-77. doi: 10.1016/s0027-9684(15)30290-x.


Objective: To pilot test and assess the feasibility of a culturally grounded approach to adolescent overweight and diabetes prevention.

Study design: Reach-Out, a family-based nutrition and exercise program for overweight African American youth aged 9 to 12 years and their families, is led by lay health leaders and conducted in a community setting on Chicago's south side (Illinois). Age-appropriate interactive sessions focus on skills building, problem solving, and setting goals during 14 weekly sessions, with monthly meetings thereafter. Pre-post comparisons were made for 29 families (62 subjects) using physical (body mass index [BMI], blood pressure, waist circumference), biochemical (glucose, insulin, lipid levels) and behavioral data. Statistical analyses included mixed-effects linear models and logistic regression.

Results: Children's mean BMI z score fell from 2.46 at baseline to 2.38 at 14 weeks and 2.39 at 1 year (p=.02), while parents' BMI remained stable. Children reported increased walking (p=0.07) and exhibited a corresponding rise in mean serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol from 49.4 to 54.2 (p<.001). Qualitative assessment showed that participants enjoyed the program but felt the program could be improved by making the sessions even more interactive.

Conclusion: A community-based program for overweight minority youth and families can successfully address overweight, with the potential to decrease diabetes risk in youth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Black or African American*
  • Chicago
  • Child
  • Child Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Community Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Family Health*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Overweight / complications*
  • Pilot Projects