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A community-based lifestyle intervention program called Black Impact was studied for the purpose of determining its impacts on the social needs of Black men and its potential to mitigate the effect of social needs as contributors to worse health outcomes. The study found that the program reduced the social needs of Black men, but no association was found between improved social needs and scores on the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7 health framework.

The non-medical social needs of the Black population contribute to worse health outcomes, impacting an estimated 50–60% of the health outcomes in this population. 

This study investigated the effects of the Black Impact program, a closed-loop community-based lifestyle intervention program, on addressing the social needs of Black men and its effects on health risk factors. The findings are published in the journal PLoS One.

Participant Characteristics

A total of 70 Black men were enrolled in the study and participated in the analysis. The mean age of these individuals was 52.0 ± 10.5 years. Approximately 43% of the participants had a college degree or higher level of education. A high proportion of the participants were in the poor range of the American Heart Association’s  Life’s Simple 7 (LS7) cardiovascular health scores for diet (40%), blood pressure (47.1%), glucose (28.6%), and body mass index (54.3%).

Social Needs in the Study Population

A non-medical, health-related social need was identified in 40 of the 70 Black men included in this study. Out of these, 31 men were referred to the Healthcare Collaborative of Greater Columbus Central (HCGC) Hub.

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Longitudinal Changes in the Social Needs of the Study Population

The number of study participants with identified social needs decreased from 57.1% to 36.6% and 44.2% at 12 weeks and 24 weeks, respectively. The odds of having a social need at 12 and 24 weeks were 67% and 30% lower than the baseline, respectively. The significant reduction in social needs persisted after excluding employment and financial strain.  

Improvement in the Social Needs of the Study Population

All the identified social needs improved at 12 and 24 weeks except for employment, which showed an increasing trend of participants reporting a desire for “help keeping work” or “help finding work”. By week 12, 13 of the 40 participants reported the complete resolution of social needs. However, four of these individuals reported a new social need at week 24.

Improvement in Cardiovascular Health Scores in the Study Population

There was a statistically significant improvement in the cardiovascular health scores among participants with and without any social needs; however, the improvement in the scores was relatively less for the study participants with social needs.

Source:

Joseph, J. J., Gray II, D. M., Williams, A., Zhao, S., McKoy, A., Odei, J. B., Brock, G., Lavender, D., Walker, D. M., Nawaz, S., Baker, C., Hoseus, J., Price, T., Gregory, J., & Nolan, T. S. (2023). Addressing non-medical health-related social needs through a community-based lifestyle intervention during the COVID-19 pandemic: The Black Impact program. PLoS ONE, 17(3), 1–21. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0282103