Promoting Physical Activity in Black Barbershops


Black men suffer disproportionately higher rates of nearly all disease categories, including the leading cause of death in North Carolina -- cancer. An estimated 50% of cancer is preventable with lifestyle modifications such as increasing physical activity (PA), eliminating tobacco use/exposure and maintaining a healthy weight. Evidence suggests that physical activity can reduce risk to several types of cancer.  Innovative ways to reach Black men with effective health promotion interventions are needed. Barbershops represent one place where Black men can be reached, but have not been utilized as settings for intervening to promote physical activity. An experienced, interdisciplinary, partnership between community members (barbershop owners, barbers and their customers) and researchers from UNC Chapel Hill/Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Gillings School of Global Public Health, and North Carolina Central University are proposing a two-phase outreach study to bridge this gap. Phase 1 is a series of inter-related formative research studies (in-depth interviews with barbers/owners; observations in shops; focus groups with customers) leading to the development of prototype, theory and evidence-guided, multi-level physical activity intervention (FITShop) designed to increase PA among Black men in barbershops. A test of the prototype FITShop intervention will be conducted in one shop.  Using Phase 1 results, Phase 2 is a two-arm, group randomized, initial efficacy trial of the FITShop intervention in 14 Black barbershops with 40 customers per shop (n=560 total).  Customers in Arm 1 (7 shops, 280 customers) will receive the FITShop intervention which includes barber training, PA contest in the shop, use of pedometers, community connections and personal feedback plus recommendations for PA.  Customers in Arm 2 (7 shops, 280 customers) will receive a Financial Empowerment (FE) attention-control intervention that mimics exposure amount without influencing the primary outcome. Consistent with community-based participatory research principles, our Advisory Board will guide all aspects of the study planning, development, implementation and analysis of results. The primary outcome (physical activity) will be measured via accelerometer using a 7-day protocol and with self-report questionnaires at baseline and 6 months using a previously tested protocol with Black men recruited from barbershops. All primary/secondary outcomes will be measured on all customers at an assessment event/via questionnaire prior to randomization (and at 6 mo) using standardized, previously tested protocols.  Process evaluation will assess dose of intervention delivered, received, fidelity, as well as reach, adoption and representativeness at the customer, barber and barbershop levels.  Since barbershops are located in all communities, if effective, this intervention has promise for dissemination & sustainability.

Co-Principal Investigators

Laura Linnan, ScDDavid Jolly, PhD

Laura Linnan, ScD

UNC Lineberger

David Jolly, PhD