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NEWS RELEASE

Office of External Communications

Houston, TX 77204-5017 Fax: 713.743.8199

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 9, 2007

Contact: Marisa Ramirez
713.743.8152 (office)
713.204.9798 (cell)
mrcannon@uh.edu

GET HIP TO HEALTH: UH STUDY RECRUITING AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN
HIP Project Focuses on Health Behaviors of African American Women

HOUSTON, Jan. 9, 2007—African American women in Houston have an opportunity to pursue better living through increasing their exercise and consumption of fruits and vegetables as part of a University of Houston study called Health Is Power (HIP).

“We’re looking for African American women who are ready to work together to improve their health,” Rebecca Lee, assistant professor in the UH Department of Health and Human Performance and lead investigator in the HIP project, said. “We know that good health is one of the greatest blessings anyone can have, but getting there is always the challenge. The New Year is a great time to refresh our healthy goals and HIP can help.”

The HIP project is now recruiting African American women in Houston between the ages of 25 and 60 years old who would like to improve their health by exercising more or eating more fruits and vegetables. Women must be able to perform physical activity, like walking, or change their diet without medical supervision. Eligible women will receive free health assessments (weight, height, body fat, blood pressure and resting heart rate), a modest stipend and attendance incentives. Participants will be randomly assigned to either physical activity or nutrition classes and must agree to adopt goals set by their group, such as participating in a walking program or eating more fruits and vegetables.

Those interested in participating in the HIP study should contact Project Director Jacque Reese-Smith at
713-743-1183 or jsmith@mail.coe.uh.edu.

The HIP project is a five-year study funded by a $3 million grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. The project focuses on African American women, because they are more vulnerable obesity and related illnesses, Lee said, and because there is little research done with African American women. The HIP project began in the summer of 2006 and has already enrolled three waves of women in Houston. The project is still enrolling women. Interested women should call immediately to enroll in the January wave. Women will complete three health assessments to track their progress: at the beginning of the study, at the six month mark and at the one year mark. In all, 250 women will participate in the HIP project in Houston.

“Group strategies, or ‘social cohesion groups,’ have been successful in helping people meet individual goals, but this project is different because it focuses on a group of women with a shared goal,” Lee said. “These groups usually have stronger outcomes and better maintenance than groups that focus on individual goals because participants are going through the program together and have a shared goal.”

Lee said the program has been rated highly by participants. More than 90 percent of the women who have completed the program so far agreed that HIP motivated them to adopt a healthy lifestyle. The same women said they also would recommend HIP to a friend.

Lee has conducted extensive research on the subject of obesity, in particular the neighborhood factors that may lead to obesity, such as availability and quality of fresh produce, and the quality and quantity of physical activity resources available in neighborhoods. To read more about her research, please visit:

http://www.uh.edu/admin/media/nr/2006/06june/061206rlee_nih.html
http://www.uh.edu/admin/media/nr/2005/05may/052305nihgrant_rlee.html
http://www.uh.edu/admin/media/nr/2005/10oct/102505para.html
http://www.uh.edu/admin/media/nr/2004/11nov/112904obesitystudy.html

For more information on the UH Department of Health and Human Performance, please visit www.hhp.uh.edu/

For more information on Lee’s research, please visit www.hhp.uh.edu/undo/.

About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.

For more information about UH visit the university’s ‘Newsroom’ at www.uh.edu/admin/media/newsroom.