Journal of Community Health

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 124–131 | Cite as

Collective Efficacy and Obesity-Related Health Behaviors in a Community Sample of African Americans

  • Chanita Hughes Halbert
  • Scarlett Bellamy
  • Vanessa Briggs
  • Marjorie Bowman
  • Ernestine Delmoor
  • Shiriki Kumanyika
  • Rodney Rogers
  • Joseph Purnell
  • Benita Weathers
  • Jerry C. Johnson
Original Paper


The social environment is important to body mass index and obesity. However, it is unknown if perceptions of the social environment are associated with obesity-related behaviors in populations at greatest risk for being overweight or obese. We evaluated the relationship between collective efficacy and diet and physical activity in a community-based sample of African American adults who were residents in an urban area. Data were collected as part of an academic-community partnership from November 2009 to 2011. We evaluated whether participants met the recommended guidelines for diet and physical activity based on collective efficacy and their sociodemographic background, health care variables, and self-efficacy in a community-based sample of African American adults (n = 338) who were residents in the Philadelphia, PA metropolitan area. Overall, many participants did not meet the recommended guidelines for fruit and vegetable intake or physical activity. The likelihood of meeting the recommended guidelines for fruit intake increased with greater levels of collective efficacy (OR 1.56, 95 % CI 1.18, 2.07, p = 0.002) and self-efficacy for diet (OR 1.56, 95 % CI 1.19, 2.04, p = 0.001). Collective efficacy was not associated with physical activity and the positive association between collective efficacy and vegetable intake was not statistically significant (OR 1.25, 95 % CI 0.94, 1.65, p = 0.12). It is important to determine the most effective methods and settings for improving diet and physical activity behaviors in urban African Americans. Enhancing collective efficacy may be important to improving adherence to recommended guidelines for obesity-related health behaviors.


Obesity-related health behaviors Collective efficacy Community-based sample African Americans 



We would like to acknowledge Aliya Collier, BA for data management, Stacey Brown, MSW for data collection and administration, and Brenda Bryant, BA for community outreach and relations. We are very appreciative to all of the women and men who participated in this research. This research was supported by National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities Grant #R24MD001594 and Grant #R18HS019339 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.


  1. 1.
    Flegal, K. M., Carroll, M. D., Ogden, C. L., & Curtin, L. R. (2010). Prevalence and trends in obesity among US adults, 1999–2008. Journal of the American Medical Association, 303(3), 235–241.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bennett, G. G., Warner, E. T., Glasgow, R. E., Askew, S., Goldman, J., Ritzwoller, D. P., et al. (2012). Obesity treatment for socioeconomically disadvantaged patients in primary care practice. Archives of Internal Medicine, 172(7), 565–574.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Resnicow, K., Jackson, A., Wang, T., De, A. K., McCarty, F., Dudley, W. N., et al. (2001). A motivational interviewing intervention to increase fruit and vegetable intake through Black churches: Results of the Eat for Life trial. American Journal of Public Health, 91(10), 1686–1693.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Wadden, T. A., Berkowitz, R. I., Womble, L. G., Sarwer, D. B., Phelan, S., Cato, R. K., et al. (2005). Randomized trial of lifestyle modification and pharmacotherapy for obesity. New England Journal of Medicine, 353(20), 2111–2120.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Kumanyika, S. K., Fassbender, J. E., Sarwer, D. B., Phipps, E., Allison, K. C., Localio, R., et al. (2012). One-year results of the Think Health! study of weight management in primary care practices. Obesity, 20(6), 1249–1257.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Katz, M. H. (2009). Structural interventions for addressing chronic health problems. Journal of the American Medical Association, 302(6), 683–685.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Foster, G. D., Wadden, T. A., Makris, A. P., Davidson, D., Sanderson, R. S., Allison, D. B., et al. (2003). Primary care physicians’ attitudes about obesity and its treatment. Obesity Research, 11(10), 1168–1177.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kushner, R. F. (1995). Barriers to providing nutrition counseling by physicians: A survey of primary care practitioners. Preventive Medicine, 24(6), 546–552.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    American Cancer Society. (2013). Cancer facts and figures, 2013. Atlanta, GA.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Lucan, S. C., Barg, F. K., & Long, J. A. (2010). Promoters and barriers to fruit, vegetable, and fast-food consumption among urban, low-income African Americans—a qualitative approach. American Journal of Public Health, 100(4), 631–635.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Oh, A., Shaikh, A., Waters, E., Atienza, A., Moser, R. P., & Perna, F. (2010). Health disparities in awareness of physical activity and cancer prevention: findings from the National Cancer Institute’s 2007 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS). Journal of Health Communication, 15(3), 60–77.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Satia, J. A., & Galanko, J. A. (2007). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for healthful dietary change in African Americans. American Journal of Health Behavior, 31(6), 643–656.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Corral, I., Landrine, H., Hao, Y., Zhao, L., Mellerson, J. L., & Cooper, D. L. (2012). Residential segregation, health behavior and overweight/obesity among a national sample of African American adults. Journal of Health Psychology, 17(3), 371–378.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Grigsby-Toussaint, D. S., Zenk, S. N., Odoms-Young, A., Ruggiero, L., & Moise, I. (2010). Availability of commonly consumed and culturally specific fruits and vegetables in African-american and Latino neighborhoods. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 110(5), 746–752.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Zenk, S. N., Odoms-Young, A. M., Dallas, C., Hardy, E., Watkins, A., Hoskins-Wroten, J., et al. (2011). “You have to hunt for the fruits, the vegetables”: Environmental barriers and adaptive strategies to acquire food in a low-income African American neighborhood. Health Education and Behavior, 38(3), 282–292.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Scott, A. J., & Wilson, R. F. (2011). Social determinants of health among African Americans in a rural community in the Deep South: An ecological exploration. Rural and Remote Health, 11(1), 1634.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Willey, J. Z., Paik, M. C., Sacco, R., Elkind, M. S., & Boden-Albala, B. (2010). Social determinants of physical inactivity in the Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS). Journal of Community Health, 35(6), 602–608.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Blitstein, J. L., Snider, J., & Evans, W. D. (2012). Perceptions of the food shopping environment are associated with greater consumption of fruits and vegetables. Public Health Nutrition, 15(6), 1124–1129.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Shaikh, A. R., Yaroch, A. L., Nebeling, L., Yeh, M. C., & Resnicow, K. (2008). Psychosocial predictors of fruit and vegetable consumption in adults a review of the literature. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 34(6), 535–543.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Halbert, C. H., Bellamy, S., Bowman, M., Briggs, V., Delmoor, E., Purnell, J., et al. (2010). Effects of integrated risk counseling for cancer and cardiovascular disease in African Americans. Journal of the National Medical Association, 102(5), 396–402.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Weathers, B., Barg, F. K., Bowman, M., Briggs, V., Delmoor, E., Kumanyika, S., et al. (2011). Using a mixed-methods approach to identify health concerns in an African American community. American Journal of Public Health, 101(11), 2087–2092.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Halbert, C. H., Kumanyika, S., Bowman, M., Bellamy, S. L., Briggs, V., Brown, S., et al. (2010). Participation rates and representativeness of African Americans recruited to a health promotion program. Health Education Research, 25(1), 6–13.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at:
  24. 24.
    McNeill, L. H., Wyrwich, K. W., Brownson, R. C., Clark, E. M., & Kreuter, M. W. (2006). Individual, social environmental, and physical environmental influences on physical activity among black and white adults: A structural equation analysis. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 31(1), 36–44.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Henry, H., Reimer, K., Smith, C., & Reicks, M. (2006). Associations of decisional balance, processes of change, and self-efficacy with stages of change for increased fruit and vegetable intake among low-income, African-American mothers. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 106(6), 841–849.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Cohen, D. A., Finch, B. K., Bower, A., & Sastry, N. (2006). Collective efficacy and obesity: The potential influence of social factors on health. Social Science and Medicine, 62(3), 769–778.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Sampson, R. J., Raudenbush, S. W., & Earls, F. (1997). Neighborhoods and violent crime: A multilevel study of collective efficacy. Science, 277(5328), 918–924.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Cohen, D. A., Inagami, S., & Finch, B. (2008). The built environment and collective efficacy. Health Place, 14(2), 198–208.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Cerin, E., Saelens, B. E., Sallis, J. F., & Frank, L. D. (2006). Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale: Validity and development of a short form. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 38(9), 1682–1691.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    National Cancer Institute. Health Information National Trends Survey. Available at:
  31. 31.
    McNeill, L. H., Kreuter, M. W., & Subramanian, S. V. (2006). Social environment and physical activity: A review of concepts and evidence. Social Science and Medicine, 63(4), 1011–1022.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Kawachi, I. (1999). Social capital and community effects on population and individual health. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 896, 120–130.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Broyles, S. T., Mowen, A. J., Theall, K. P., Gustat, J., & Rung, A. L. (2011). Integrating social capital into a park-use and active-living framework. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 40(5), 522–529.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Lochner, K. A., Kawachi, I., Brennan, R. T., & Buka, S. L. (2003). Social capital and neighborhood mortality rates in Chicago. Social Science and Medicine, 56(8), 1797–1805.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Kumanyika, S. K., Wadden, T. A., Shults, J., Fassbender, J. E., Brown, S. D., Bowman, M. A., et al. (2009). Trial of family and friend support for weight loss in African American adults. Archives of Internal Medicine, 169(19), 1795–1804.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Yancey, A. K., McCarthy, W. J., Harrison, G. G., Wong, W. K., Siegel, J. M., & Leslie, J. (2006). Challenges in improving fitness: Results of a community-based, randomized, controlled lifestyle change intervention. Journal of Womens Health, 15(4), 412–429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    McNeill, L. H., & Emmons, K. (2012). GIS walking maps to promote physical activity in low-income public housing communities: A qualitative examination. Preventing Chronic Disease, 9, E17.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Peterson, K. E., Dubowitz, T., Stoddard, A. M., Troped, P. J., Sorensen, G., & Emmons, K. M. (2007). Social context of physical activity and weight status in working-class populations. Journal of Physical Activity & Health, 4(4), 381–396.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: W.H. Freeman.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Prusak, L., & Cohen, D. (2001). How to invest in social capital. Harvard Business Review, 79(6), 86–93,147.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Cohen, D. A., Golinelli, D., Williamson, S., Sehgal, A., Marsh, T., & McKenzie, T. L. (2009). Effects of park improvements on park use and physical activity: Policy and programming implications. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 37(6), 475–480.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Cohen, D. A., Marsh, T., Williamson, S., Derose, K. P., Martinez, H., Steodiji, C., et al. (2010). Parks and physical activity: Why are some parks used more than others? Preventive Medicine, 50(1), 9–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Goddard, R. D., Hoy, W. K., & Hoy, A. W. (2004). Collective efficacy beliefs: Theoretical developments, empirical evidence, and future directions. Educational Researcher, 33(3), 3–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Jilcott, S. B., Keyserling, T. C., Samuel-Hodge, C. D., Rosamond, W., Garcia, B., Will, J. C., et al. (2006). Linking clinical care to community resources for cardiovascular disease prevention: The North Carolina Enhanced WISEWOMAN project. Journal of Womens Health, 15(5), 569–583.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Philadelphia Health Management Corporation. (2010). Assessing social capital in southeastern Pennsylvania. Brief Report, 2010 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey. Available at:
  46. 46.
    Viswanath, K., & Ackerson, L. K. (2011). Race, ethnicity, language, social class, and health communication inequalities: A nationally-representative cross-sectional study. PLoS ONE, 6(1), e14550.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Chung, B., Jones, L., Jones, A., Corbett, C. E., Booker, T., Wells, K. B., et al. (2009). Using community arts events to enhance collective efficacy and community engagement to address depression in an African American community. American Journal of Public Health, 99(2), 237–244.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chanita Hughes Halbert
    • 1
  • Scarlett Bellamy
    • 2
  • Vanessa Briggs
    • 3
  • Marjorie Bowman
    • 4
  • Ernestine Delmoor
    • 5
  • Shiriki Kumanyika
    • 2
  • Rodney Rogers
    • 6
  • Joseph Purnell
    • 7
  • Benita Weathers
    • 8
  • Jerry C. Johnson
    • 9
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Hollings Cancer CenterMedical University of South CarolinaCharlestonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and BiostatisticsUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Health Promotion Council of Southeastern PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.Boonshoft School of MedicineWright State UniversityDaytonUSA
  5. 5.National Black Leadership Initiative on CancerPhiladelphia ChapterPhiladelphiaUSA
  6. 6.Christ of Calvary Community Development CorporationPhiladelphiaUSA
  7. 7.Southwest Action CoalitionPhiladelphiaUSA
  8. 8.Department of Psychiatry, Center for Community-Based Research and Health DisparitiesUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  9. 9.Division of Geriatric Medicine, Department of MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

Personalised recommendations