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Health Behavior Interventions Increase Healthy Behaviors

Last Updated: April 26, 2011.

Interventions targeting multiple health-related behaviors are successful at increasing health-related behaviors in HIV-serodiscordant heterosexual African-American couples, according to a study published in the April 25 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

TUESDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- Interventions targeting multiple health-related behaviors are successful at increasing health-related behaviors in HIV-serodiscordant heterosexual African-American couples, according to a study published in the April 25 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Nabila El-Bassel, Ph.D., D.S.W., from the Columbia University School of Social Work in New York City, and colleagues investigated the efficacy of an intervention to increase multiple health-related behaviors in African-American HIV-serodiscordant heterosexual couples. A total of 270 couples were randomized to an individual-focused multiple health-related behaviors promotion intervention, and 260 couples were assigned to a couple-focused HIV/sexually transmitted disease (STD) risk reduction intervention. Adherence to fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity guidelines were the primary outcomes, which were assessed preintervention, immediately postintervention, and after six and 12 months. Fatty food consumption, prostate and breast cancer screening, and alcohol use were also assessed.

The investigators found that participants in the health promotion intervention were more likely to report eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily (rate ratio [RR], 1.38) and to adhere to physical activity guidelines (RR, 1.39) than HIV/STD intervention participants. Health interventions participants also ate fatty foods less often (mean difference, −0.18), more men were screened for prostate cancer (RR, 1.51), and more women underwent a mammogram (RR, 1.26). There was no difference in alcohol use between the groups.

"The present results demonstrated that a health promotion intervention had significant effects on multiple health behaviors in African-American HIV-positive and HIV-negative individuals," the authors write.

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