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#CRCFREE: Using Social Media to Reduce Colorectal Cancer Risk in Rural Adults

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Objectives: In this study, we pilot-tested #CRCFree, a Facebook-based intervention aimed at reducing colorectal cancer (CRC) risk in rural Appalachian adults at risk for CRC. Methods: Participants were 56 rural Appalachian adults aged > 50 years. Daily #CRCFree Facebook posts addressed diet, physical activity, and CRC screening. Participants' sociodemographics, diet, body mass index, physical activity, and CRC screening status were measured pre- and post-intervention. The Healthy Eating Index (HEI) and the Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII) assessed dietary patterns. Facebook engagement was measured throughout the intervention. A post-intervention focus group evaluated intervention acceptability. Results: Participants were Caucasian, aged 58 ± 6 years, and predominantly female (66%). Post-intervention, HEI scores increased (49.9 ± 9.9 vs 58.6 ± 12.1, p = <.001), and DII scores decreased from baseline (2.8 ± 1.1 vs 1.6 ± 1.7, p = .002). There was no change in physical activity, BMI, or CRC screening status. Focus group participants found the intervention to be educational and motivating. Conclusions: These results provide preliminary evidence to support using Facebook to address CRC risk in this population. Participants were responsive to this intervention, and Facebook is a novel and accessible modality for health promotion.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Kaitlin Voigts Key, Doctoral Candidate, University of Kentucky College of Nursing, Lexington, KY;, Email: [email protected] 2: Adebola Adegboyega, Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky College of Nursing, Lexington, KY 3: Heather Bush, Kate Spade & Co. Foundation Endowed Professor, Department of Biostatistics, University of Kentucky College of Public Health 4: Mollie E. Aleshire, DNP Program Director/Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Greensboro School of Nursing, Greensboro, NC 5: Omar A. Contreras, Program Director of Policy and Translational Research, Office of Community Outreach and Engagement, The University of Arizona Cancer Center 6: Jennifer Hatcher, Professor, Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, Associate Director for Community Outreach & Engagement, The University of Arizona Cancer Center

Publication date: May 1, 2020

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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