177345 Community walking campaigns in faith communities: The Healthy Congregations in Action (HCIA) Experience

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 3:30 PM

Judy A. Johnston, MS, RD, LD , Department of Preventive Medicine & Public Health, University of Kansas School of Medicine - Wichita, Wichita, KS
Elizabeth Ablah, PhD, MPH , Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, Wichita, KS
Kurt Konda , Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, Wichita, KS
Purpose: Community campaigns to promote physical activity may develop or strengthen social networks. The purpose of this study was to determine the utility of community campaigns composed of walking programs and communications strategies as a vehicle to increase physical activity, increase social networks and increase the reach of health ministry in faith communities.

Methods: Health ministry leadership teams from 27 churches received training and resources on walking programs. The teams also received professionally designed communication materials, funds for printing, postage and/or media to promote the programs, and communications training. Each health ministry team identified community needs and developed and implemented plans to address those needs. Although they were required to implement at least one physical health plan, each team selected the specific program

Results: 33% of the participating teams implemented community walking programs. 61% of teams reported that they followed their original plan, meeting set objectives. 74% reported they successfully reached their target audiences. 76% reported favorable participant feedback, including increased energy, weight loss, etc. RE-AIM process data indicated that for many churches, communications expenditures were an essential element of helping them create programs that went beyond the confines of their church and congregation.

Conclusions: Community campaigns to promote physical activity require both a plan for the specific intervention program and a communication and marketing plan in order to successfully reach the maximum number of participants in the target group. The ability to promote their programs externally helped make the HCIA program a truly community-wide experience.

Learning Objectives:
Learning Objectives: As a result of this session, participants will be able to: 1. List the program elements recommended in the findings from the Systematic Review of community-wide programs to promote physical activity in the CDC Community Guide to Preventive Services 2. Describe how the CDC community campaign recommendations were used to promote physical activity in faith communities participating in the HCIA initiative. 3. Discuss the critical elements of a successful communication campaign for promoting physical activity in communities and the specific challenges to implementing such a campaign in faith communities.

Keywords: Faith Community, Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: data lead
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.