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133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Amy D. Cober, BS RD LD MPH, Highlands County Health Dept. WIC & Nutrition Services, Florida Dept. of Health, 7205 S. George Blvd., Sebring, FL 33875, 863-386-6040X217, firstname.lastname@example.org
Purpose of the Program: To reduce racial and ethnic disparities in morbidity and mortality rates relating to cardiovascular disease.
Setting: The Highlands County Health Department, with support from Florida DOH, Office of Minority Health and the local Hospital District Board conducted a chronic disease prevention project in Highlands County, FL from 12/00-06/04. Building on successes of the initial project, a second more intense phase, focusing on faith-based organizations began in 07/04.
Interventions: Baseline screening measurements and health risk assessments were conducted after written agreements were in place with church leaders and commitment cards signed by individual church members. Wellness committees guided the selection of interventions and coordinated events within the church calendar; walking clubs, tai-chi, water aerobics, supermarket tours, fitness videos, Internet access, culturally appropriate educational presentations and food sampling. Follow-up screenings are planned.
Outcomes: The response has been overwhelming; there is currently a waiting list to participate. The predominant risk factors identified were obesity, elevated cholesterol, low HDL-C and elevated blood pressure. Churches are hosting an average of 14 activities each month and averaging 9 members per activity. Project staff are developing rapport, making referrals and conducting follow-up on an ongoing basis. The resulting and lasting community partnerships have also been instrumental in getting important public health information to the minority community.
Conclusions: Faith based organizations provide an ideal setting to promote healthy lifestyles and potentially reduce the burden of chronic disease.
Keywords: Faith Community, Minority Research
Related Web page: doh.state.fl.us/equopp/CTG/indexCTG.html
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.
The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA