Sharing What We Have Learned: Healthy City Collaborative

Sharmilee Nyenhuis

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Addressing Lifestyle Physical Activity Among Minority Women with Asthma

Dr. Sharmilee Nyenhuis
Associate Professor of Medicine, Director of the Allergy/Asthma/Immunology Program, Faculty Affiliate of Center for Dissemination and Implementation Science, University of Illinois at Chicago Section Chief of Allergy, Jesse Brown VA Medical Center

Black women are disproportionately impacted by both physical inactivity and asthma. Lifestyle physical activity interventions targeted for Black women with asthma are lacking. This study aims to assess the feasibility/acceptability and preliminary effects of a lifestyle physical activity intervention culturally tailored for Black women with asthma.

Black women (18-70 years old) with uncontrolled asthma were recruited from an urban academic medical center. Outcome assessments conducted at the beginning and at 24 weeks included measures of: feasibility/acceptability, asthma control (asthma control questionnaire-ACQ), quality of life, health care utilization, and physical activity levels. Participants were randomized to the intervention (asthma education, Fitbit, monthly group sessions, text messages, individual step goals, study manual) or enhanced usual care (asthma education +Fitbit) group. Of the 53 women randomized, 92% remained in the intervention (23/25), with 76% completing the 24-week outcome assessment.

Overall intervention satisfaction and their individual components was high at 24 weeks. The overall change in asthma control (ACQ) between groups was not highly notable at 24 weeks but approached clinical significance. At 24 weeks, more women receiving the intervention had controlled asthma compared to the enhanced usual care group. Clinically important improvements in quality of life were found in the intervention group at 24 weeks.

A culturally tailored lifestyle physical activity intervention is achievable and demonstrates improvements in asthma control and quality of life among Black women with asthma. These preliminary findings support the need for physical activity lifestyle interventions in urban Black women with asthma ( NCT03265665).

Lifestyle physical activity, such as walking, should be promoted to minority adults with asthma to help improve asthma symptoms and quality of life. Local government and community organizations need to support green space development and create safe places to engage in walking particularly in low-income minority communities where high rates of asthma exist.

About Our Researcher
Dr. Nyenhuis is committed to addressing disparities in unique and minority populations with asthma. Her research portfolio has included working to understand reasons for increased asthma severity in older adults, to working with urban populations with recurrent emergency room visits for asthma to her current work in identifying barriers to physical activity among African American women with asthma. Her overall goal is to expand our knowledge of lifestyle behavior change in asthma to improve the lives of minority asthma populations. Her work is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NHLBI, NIEHS).

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