WINSTON-SALEM-- A new study at Winston-Salem State University aims to decrease obesity in African-American women.
It is made possible by a $200,000 federal grant from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Vanessa Hood, the associate director of university recreation, spent years competing in the world of fitness and won three world power lifting titles.
She now helps students live healthy lifestyles.
"I've had the opportunity to see my mother and my grandmother both have diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol," said Hood.
Dr. Shawn Ricks, assistant professor of rehabilitation studies, says African-American women have the highest obesity rates in the country.
"African-American women in particular, have been overlooked in terms of their mental health. We're natural nurturers and caregivers but very often we are last on that list," said Ricks.
"The Coach Approach to Obesity Prevention" will combine wellness coaching with fitness.
"Taking care of yourself or understanding motives behind unhealthy eating is not selfish, it's self-love. We want to help them understand that if you want to live longer and be a better resource for your family then you have to take care of yourself," said Ricks.
A 16-week intervention program includes free coaching, fitness classes, health screenings and a stipend for completing program activities.
It is open to African-American women in the Triad ages 30-65.
"It makes the person being coached feel that they are important enough to have positive results from working out and an improved image of themselves," said Hood.
The study starts sometime in January. To sign-up or for more information, contact the project coordinator: Marian Anderson-Booker at firstname.lastname@example.org.