Sisters Together: Move More, Eat Better
updated May 13, 2010
Sisters Together: Move More, Eat Better is an example of how attention to culture and context supports and enhances public health efforts. Sisters Together was funded as a pilot project of the Weight-Control Information Network (WIN) and was supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to address obesity prevention. The Sisters Together Move More Eat Better model program was developed to address these needs among Black women in three Boston communities. The model program was highlighted in the Surgeon General’s report on Physical Fitness and is currently being replicated in several states. All program ideas and materials were extensively piloted with Black women in the community to reflect their voices and their preferences.
Sisters Together evolved into a coalition of neighborhood organizations and community activists addressing physical activity and/or nutrition. For more information about the program, see the article on the model program design referenced on the web site noted below.
Of the coalition’s diverse efforts, one was the development of educational materials in order to address a ‘silence’ related to physical activity. Coalition members discussed their perception that, for many women, hair is a barrier to exercise. They wanted to find a way to break the silence around this issue. Further discussions among a variety of women led to the development of an innovative booklet addressing hairstyle and physical fitness. Coordinated by a local nutritionist, Hair Care Tips for Sisters on the Move: Feeling Fit & Looking Fine offers tips for hair care and for exercise. The hair care booklet celebrates beauty and health and includes pictures of community women, a wide variety of hairstyles, and a wide variety of physical activities.
Without the ongoing participation of the people that Sisters Together aimed to serve, this common obstacle to exercise would not have been recognized. A small evaluation study indicated that 22% of the women participating in the study had used the tips, 52% planned to use the tips and 51% talked about the booklet with others. The booklet was mailed to all members of the Sisters Together program and distributed through all of the agencies and organizations represented on the coalition. Personal anecdotes sent in by post card indicate that women appreciated the booklet’s representation of their issues and of their neighborhood.
- “I saw myself in the brochure because I’m always on the go.”
- “The book promotes sisterhood.”
- “People looked normal.”
- “Good to see Black women feeling fit and looking fine.”
Click here to view Hair Care Tips for Sisters on the Move: Feeling Fit & Looking Fine.