African American women find wellness in “Prime Time Sister Circles” at AAMP
FREE, 13-week, interactive wellness seminars will take place in four venues across the city. The workshops are designed to reverse negative health trends in African American women and their families
The nationally recognized Prime Time Sister Circles have launched again, beginning Wednesday September 4, at 6 PM, at the African American Museum located at 7th and Arch Streets. More than 100 women from around the Philadelphia region are expected to be on hand signing up to participate in the Prime Time Sister Circles, an evidence-based, socially innovative intervention program designed to improve the lifestyle of African American women aged 40-70. The women will sign up to participate in the free, two hour seminars that will meet weekly, in four different locations from September until December.
The interactive lessons will focus on stress management techniques, increased physical activity, and improved nutrition. The classes are led by specially trained women from the Philadelphia community who are paid a stipend. Last year’s inaugural Prime Time Sister Circles are being hailed a huge success having encouraged more than 100 graduates to adopt a healthier lifestyle that includes healthier food choices, and portion control.
Of the more than 100 participants, 68 percent lost weight and all of the women saw significant decreases in stress and hypertension levels. That is why organizers for the Prime Time Sister Circles are returning to replicate and expand the program in Philadelphia so other women can benefit.
In addition to recruiting new participants to the Prime Time Sister Circles, tonight’s event will also include free health screenings. Every woman who signs up will have their weight, height, blood pressure, waist circumference, and body mass index (BMI) measurements taken. These numbers will be used as a baseline reading for the 13-week Prime Time Sister Circles program and will be re-measured every two weeks to show successes. The African American Museum is one of four locations where the Prime Time Sister Circles will meet and the museum is also a sponsor of the event along with Philadelphia’s Black Women’s Health Alliance (http://www.pbwha.org). The Prime Time Sister Circles are free and open to any African American woman aged 40-70 who is interested in improving her own health and at the same time, reversing the negative health trends that are plaguing the African-American Community.
“Obesity is at the core of almost every major health problem we face including diabetes, heart disease, and depression,” says Brenda Shelton-Dunston, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Black Women’s Health Alliance. “It is our hope that the 13 week Prime Time Sister Circles will provide women with the tools they need to lead healthier lifestyles in their own lives and also the lives of their families.”
The Prime Time Sister Circles were founded by internationally recognized Dr. Marilyn Gaston and Dr. Gayle Porter of the Gaston & Porter Health Improvement Center in Washington, DC (http://www.gastonandporter.org ).
The esteemed doctors were in Philadelphia two years ago for the kick-off of the “Creating A Legacy Of Wellness: Mind Body & Spirit” campaign designed to engage city and community leaders so they become concerned about the health of their constituents and begin instituting wellness activities and programs in their arenas. “We have to do something to reverse this negative trend toward unhealthy lifestyles in the African American Community,” says Brenda Shelton-Dunston. “The Prime Time Sister Circles are one way of getting Philadelphia’s African American Community healthier.”
Other Prime Time Sister Circles will be hosted at Zion Baptist Church (3600 North Broad Street), The Center of Peace For Spiritual Living (1921 Beech Avenue in Elkins Park), and First District Headquarters (3801 Market Street). For more information or to sign up for a free Prime Time Sister Circles contact the Black Women’s Health Alliance at (215) 382-3292.
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