An online evaluation of a new web-based source of information on eating healthy and being active designed for African American women: Exploring relationships among personal-level variables and website ratings
Obesity and overweight are growing among African American women at disturbing rates. There has been an increase in Internet-based weight loss and obesity prevention programs due to the ease of use and accessibility, reduced delivery costs, and potential for providing such programs to lower income and minority populations. However, there is a lack of research regarding the preferences of African American women for these types of websites. The purpose of this study was to utilize the new Eat Healthy! Be Active! portal (www.DIVAhealth.org/EatHealthy/BeActive/), located on the D.I.V.A.S. (Developing Individual Attitudes Values and Skills) website, to survey a sample of African American women to determine their website preferences, ratings of the new portal, multiple personal-level variables, and willingness to respond to a social marketing campaign. Participants were recruited through a snowballing technique that used word of mouth communication, social networking technology (Facebook, Twitter), posting flyers in community settings, e-mails, and text-messaging. This study utilized several sub-scales of the Rating and Evaluating Health Care Websites Survey (REHWS74) and the Eat Healthy and Be Active Study Survey. The study enrolled 206 African American women who varied based on income, education level, and other demographic variables. A backwards stepwise regression was performed to determine the best predictors of high ratings of the Eat Healthy! Be Active! portal. The regression analysis concluded that the predictor variables were education level, self-perception of weight, and website attitudes and beliefs. Those who rated the Eat Healthy! Be Active! portal more favorably were less educated (B = -.248, Std. Error = .110, p= .026), heavier based on self perception (B = .392, Std. Error = .141, p = .006), and rated web features as more important (B = .144, Std. Error = .061, p = .020). These findings indicate that a one size fits all approach to the development of Internet-based weight loss and obesity prevention programs may not be applicable for this population, given the diversity on variables such as level of education. Website developers and health educators can collaborate to create website content tailored to meet the needs of women with varying demographics. Future directions in research and website design evaluation are discussed.
0573: Public health
0680: Health education