Back to Annual Meeting Page
American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
4208.0: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 - 2:45 PM

Abstract #104981

Collaborating With Faith Based Organizations to Promote Lifestyle Changes in Minority Populations

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, amy_cober@doh.state.fl.us

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.

Learning Objectives:

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.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Faith Community Effecting Change: Addressing Health Disparities and Social Justice

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA