Background: A key intervention to address Black–White health disparities in cardiovascular disease (CVD) is to improve diet quality, especially vegetable consumption, among African Americans. However, effective and sustainable interventions are lacking for this population.

Objective: Conduct a proof-of-concept study to measure the feasibility of implementing and rigorously assessing a novel, culturally tailored church-based intervention to improve vegetable consumption and total diet quality among African Americans.

Methods: The study was designed and implemented by a community-based participatory research (CBPR) partnership between researchers, pastors, and church leaders. The Abundant Living in Vibrant Energy (ALIVE) intervention included a Bible study and small group-based nutrition education delivered by pastors and church members in 24 two-hour sessions over 9 months as well as church-wide activities. Overall, 206 people enrolled across five African American churches.

Results: Participants attended 56% of sessions. The mean number of daily vegetable servings at baseline was 3.04; this increased by one serving at the 9-month follow-up (p < .001). Vegetable servings increased by more than one in 47% of participants. Total diet quality also increased (p < .01) and significant reductions were found in weight (−1.0 kg; p < .001), systolic blood pressure (−3.91 mm Hg; p = .002), and diastolic blood pressure (−2.18 mm Hg; p = .001).

Conclusions: The ALIVE intervention was flexibly adapted by a range of churches; successfully implemented by pastors, deacons, and church leaders; and rigorously evaluated across a range of church settings. Further study of this intervention is warranted given the evidence for potential efficacy and a high level of external validity.


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pp. 19-30
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