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Church groups emphasizing the importance of exercise inspired formerly sedentary older African American women to get fit, according to a study published Thursday in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The “Sisters in Motion” study used a cornerstone of the African American community – faith – as a tool to promote physical activity among African American women, a group considered to be one of the least physically active in the U.S., according to Dr. O. Kenrik Duru, a primary care physician at University of California, Los Angeles and the study’s lead researcher.

“Older African American women are very religious and spiritual. I think over 90 percent pray every day,” said Duru, “When you’re targeting community members like this, you want to focus on strengths.”

Duru and his research team devised an eight-week, faith-based intervention program for 62 African-American women, age 60 or older, who reported engaging in 30 minutes of exercise less than three times per week.


Editor’s Note: Over at the Chart, CNN’s medical blog, Faseeha Altaf files this report.

Read the full story here.

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