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Rural Health Information Hub

Promising Interventions for Communities

Interventions showing meaningful, plausible positive health or behavioral outcomes, and policy, environment, or economic impacts based on evidence from published or unpublished evaluation studies or exploratory evaluations.

  • Program name: Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP)
    Change type: Individual
    Description: CHIP is an intensive community-based lifestyle intervention that has been shown to offer significant benefits for the prevention, control, and even reversal of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and depression. The program was implemented in the underserved, rural, Appalachian county of Athens County, Ohio. Participants attended one of six CHIP classes, and each class was conducted over a 4- to 8-week period and involved 16 two-hour group sessions.
    Demonstrated Success
    • Tested in rural setting
    • Audiences tested: 214 individuals aged 24-81 years
    • Collectively demonstrated significant reductions in body mass index, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and fasting blood levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, and glucose
  • Program name: Treatment of Obesity in Underserved Rural Settings (TOURS)
    Change type: Individual
    Description: Randomized trial to compare effectiveness of three types of extended care programs to promote successful long-term weight management in rural populations. Carried out through the Cooperative Extension Service (CES). Participants took part in a six-month lifestyle modification program modeled after Diabetes Prevention Program (low-calorie eating plan, increased physical activity, and training in behavior modification strategies). Extended care cohorts received one of the following:
    • 26, 60-minute in-person group counseling sessions (83 women)
    • 26, 15-minute telephone-based counseling sessions (72 women)
    • Education via 26 bi-weekly newsletters with tips for maintaining weight loss (control group-79 women)
    Demonstrated Success
    • Tested in rural setting
    • Audience tested: Completers of initial lifestyle intervention – 234 overweight rural women ages 50-75
    • Primary outcomes in 6-month lifestyle intervention completers included average weight loss of 10 kg (22 lb) and improvements in blood pressure, blood lipid, glycemic control
    • At 12 months, participants who received either telephone or face-to-face counseling regained less weight than control group and had smaller increases in BMI
  • Program name: Cherokee Choices: A Diabetes Prevention Program for American Indians
    Change type: Individual; Policy, Systems, and Environmental (PSE)
    Description: A targeted program consisting of a culturally appropriate community action plan for the prevention of Type 2 diabetes, especially among children. The program includes three components: elementary school mentoring, worksite wellness for adults, and church-based health promotion. A social marketing strategy supports these components. Church wellness included activities to improve diet and physical activity. Pastors developed sermons on importance of taking care of the physical as well as spiritual self.
    Demonstrated Success
    • Tested in rural setting
    • Audience tested: Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina. Church wellness component included members of 5 churches (n = 150)
    • Participants in the church program walked an average of 211 miles in six months
  • Program name: Community Healthy Activities Model Program for Seniors (CHAMPS)
    Change type: Individual
    Description: Individually tailored, choice-based physical activity program promoting increased long-term physical activity in older adults. Includes principles of self-efficacy enhancement, readiness to change, and motivational techniques. An example of individually-adapted health behavior change interventions, recommended by Community Guide.
    Demonstrated Success
    • Audience tested: 173 sedentary adults, average age 74, in 2 Medicare HMOs
    • Original one-year randomized controlled trial found:
      • Increased caloric spending in physical activity
      • Average of three pounds lost
      • Reduced BMI
      • Currently being tested in three diverse community settings in San Francisco, CA
    • More information available at the National Cancer Institute's website
  • Program name: Utilizing the Church and Church Members for Conducting Weight Loss Programs
    Change type: Individual
    Description: Designed to promote dietary change and physical activity in a church-based setting with individual and group formats. Group format includes one meeting per month for six months. Lessons and group discussions with health educators. Lesson plans include topics such as ideal body weight and maintaining healthy weight, diet and exercise, food groups, and record-keeping. Program takes six months to complete. Lay health educators are recruited from the same church where program is being implemented and are intensively trained for two days.
    Demonstrated Success
    • Audience tested: 40 African American church members (37 women, 3 men) in Baton Rouge, LA
    • Pilot tested, convenience sample, no control group
    • Six months after enrollment, participants lost an average of 3.3 kilograms and 0.5 percent of body fat
    • Participants increased physical activity
  • Program name: Eating for a Healthy Life (EHL)
    Change type: Individual
    Description: Dietary change intervention to help members of religious organizations make healthier decisions. Goals include lowering fat intake and increasing fruit, vegetable, and whole grain consumption. A self-determined advisory committee plans social activities after religious services.
    Demonstrated Success
    • Audience tested: Adults ages 18-100 from 40 religious organizations in the Seattle, WA area
    • At 12 months, randomized clinical study found through telephone survey:
      • Reported decrease in consumed fat
      • Reported increase in consumed fiber