Men 4 Health


Project Details


Men 4 Health (M4H) is a five-year study to design and implement an intervention to improve healthy eating and physical activity among African American men in Flint, Michigan.

African American men have higher incidences and death rates from a variety of cancers and other diseases associated with and exacerbated by being overweight or obese. Despite these poor health outcomes, few interventions have been developed to address obesity and related risk behaviors in African American men.

This study is designed to systematically develop a culturally, contextually and gender sensitive intervention that addresses the individual and social barriers to healthy eating and physical activity for urban African American men by building on resources in the African American community: men’s fraternal, civic and social organizations; community-based organizations and local businesses; and men’s families.

The specific aims of Men 4 Health are:

  1. Assess how urban African American men and their families perceive environmental and cognitive factors that influence their dietary quality and physical activity.
  2. Develop a conceptual model that describes how social, cultural, historical and structural factors influence health promotion and cancer risk for urban African American men.
  3. Develop a multi-level intervention to improve African American men’s rates of moderate and vigorous physical activity and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  4. Evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention.

We are currently analyzing exploratory focus group data collected from African American men 35 and older and women in their lives living in Flint, Ypsilanti, and Detroit MI. The information from these focus groups will be used to inform the development of the intervention in Flint and in the other communities.

Community Steering Committee

  • Black Men for Social Change: Henry Gaines (committee chair)
  • University of Michigan School of Public Health: Julie Allen, Derek Griffith, Gyhandi Hill
  • Flint Odyssey House Inc., Health Awareness Center: E. Hill De Loney, Kent Key
  • YOUR Center: Bettina Campbell


Griffith, D. M., Gunter, K., Coffen, J., & Allen, J. O. (2011, November). Engendering Men 4 Health: How do we consider ethnicity and gender in African American men’s health interventions? [Paper]. Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association, Washington, DC.
Griffith, D. M., Gunter, K., Gaines, H., & Allen, J. O. (2010, November). Implications of Black men’s “Hierarchy of Responsibilities” for health behavior interventions [Paper]. Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association, Denver, CO.
Griffith, D. M., Gunter, K., Allen, J. O., & Gaines, H. (2010, May). Work & Family > personal health: Black men’s perspectives on physical activity and healthy eating [Poster]. Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA.
Griffith, D. M., Gunter, K., Allen, J. O., & Gaines, H. (2010, April). “We are overcommitted...”: Implications for African American men’s eating and exercise [Paper]. Black Men for Social Change, REACH U.S., Genesee County Health Department, Flint, MI.
Johnson, J. L., Griffith, D. M., Allen, J. O., Herbert, K., Hill, G., & Gaines, H. (2009, November). Close to home: Women’s perspectives on African American men’s eating and physical activity. Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association, Philadelphia, PA.
Griffith, D. M., Johnson, J. L., Allen, J. O., & Hill, G. (2009, July). Two sides of African American men’s health: Perspectives on the role of women in men’s health from the Men 4 Health Study [Poster]. Office of Health Disparities of the American Cancer Society Conference, Health Equity: Through the Cancer Lens, Las Vegas, NV.
Griffith, D. M., Hill, G., & Gaines, H. (2009, April). Improving African American men’s health: Considerations, challenges & strategies [Workshop]. Genesee County Health Department Public Health Week Conference, Flint, MI.
Griffith, D. M. (2008, October). Patterns and causes of racial and gender disparities in health: Implications for African American men’s health [Workshop]. Michigan Department of Community Health’s Conference, Addressing Racial & Ethnic Health Disparities through Public Policy: Exploring Effective Strategies, Detroit, MI.
Griffith, D. M. (2007, November). Invisible men: Examining determinants of African American men’s health. Wayne State University President’s Biennial Conference on Health Disparities, Detroit, MI.