Keep It Movin’

KIM: Keep It Movin’: A Church-Based Intervention to Improve Physical Function in African Americans

Principal Investigators: Elizabeth Lynch, PhD and Steven Rothschild, MD

Persons with multiple chronic conditions (MCCs) experience increased risk of disability, reduced quality of life, increased hospitalizations, and death. The burden of MCCs falls particularly hard on African Americans (AAs) who have a higher prevalence of MCCs than non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics, earlier declines in physical functioning, and higher prevalence of disability. For over a decade, Rush researchers and AA churches have collaborated through the Alive Faith Network (AFN) to work for health equity in the Chicago region. Health screenings with church members and the community on Chicago’s west side demonstrated high rates of lower extremity physical function limitations, most commonly among those with chronic illness. Since physical activity (PA) offers an effective approach to reducing morbidity and mortality among persons experiencing MCC-associated impairments, church partners have called for the testing of PA interventions that might address this health challenge. Therefore, Rush investigators in collaboration with the AFN will conduct a multi-level PA program that community members named Keep It Movin’ (KIM). The KIM intervention builds on the evidence-based Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) Study which showed that a structured PA program can reduce mobility disability among older adults with limitations of physical function. Findings from the LIFE intervention have not been previously tested in predominantly AA communities. Participants in the KIM pilot study reported significant barriers to engaging in recommended PA, including symptoms such as pain and dyspnea, fear of injury, and functional limitations. Therefore, the LIFE intervention has been adapted for implementation, adding functional education to help overcome barriers to starting and maintaining regular PA among persons with MCCs. The hypothesis is that this augmented intervention, which enhances capability of church members through additional social support and education by knowledgeable rehabilitation specialists, will lead to both increased physical function and increased PA among AA adults with PF limitations due to MCCs.

Community Partner: Alive Faith Network