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Church-based health promotion: Promoting physical activity through the Church

Mohamed Kanu, MA, MPH, PhD, Department of Anthropology, University of Memphis, 316 Manning Hall, Memphis, TN, TN 38152, 901 678 0850, mkanu@memphis.edu

Study Purpose: This study analyzed cross-sectional data from rural residents to determine whether or not informational or instrumental church-based social support was related to meeting CDC guidelines for physical activity/or performing “some” versus no amount of physical activity. The survey was administered by telephone using random-digit dialing (n=1625). Findings:Major findings revealed that aggregated church-based instrumental social support was associated with performing “some” versus no physical activity, but not with meeting CDC guidelines. Aggregated informational social support was not significantly associated with either meeting guidelines or performing “some” amount of activity. Certain forms of instrumental social support produced significant associations when results were stratified based on gender and race.

Recommendations: 1.Churches must be tapped to promote physical activity because they do not only serve as houses of worship, but also have facilities/characteristics that support physical activity. 2. Social support is inherent in churches and church-based social support must be utilized to promote physical activity. 3.Women and African Americans report lower levels of leisure-time physical activity than men and whites respectively. However, women and African Americans report more frequent church attendance. Interventions must consider churches as rallying points to promote physical activity.

Learning Objectives:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Models of Physical Activity to Reduce Obesity in Faith Based Settings

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA