224691 Galvanizing Faith Leaders to Increase Access to Healthy Foods

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 5:30 PM - 5:45 PM

Tiffany McDowell, PhD , Center for Closing the Health Gap in Greater Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
Lindsey Cencula, MPH , Center for Closing the Health Gap in Greater Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
Dwight Tillery, JD , The Center for Closing the Health Gap in Greater Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
Renee Mahaffey Harris , Center for Closing the Health Gap in Greater Cincinnati, Cincinati, OR
Faith based organizations can be instrumental in promoting health and disease prevention because of their central role in the African American community. The Center for Closing the Health Gap utilizes community-based methodology to improve the health status of minority populations. The Center trained faith-based leaders and clergy to educate local policymakers and the community on childhood obesity, its link to healthy food access, and how land use policies can provide greater access and reduce obesity rates. This faith-based coalition has succeeded in persuading local churches to adopt a health policy, providing educational workshops to residents, and sponsoring community gardens and farmers markets to increase the amount of fresh food available to residents in areas without a full-service grocery. Over 45 residents have joined the faith coalition as health advocates to further educate the community. A community food assessment was conducted to evaluate needs in the target neighborhood. 22 residents were trained in developing, conducting, and inputting data for the assessment. Of the 21 food outlets assessed, only three offered more than 30% of the healthy foods listed on the instrument. Additionally, residents' food shopping patterns were assessed to determine strategies for increasing access. Findings from these assessments were used by a healthy foods task force to develop recommendations to Cincinnati City Council that would improve resident access to healthy foods. The faith coalition continues to mobilize community residents to advocate for improved health.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
(1) design strategies to engage faith-based organizations to advocate for food access policy change; and (2) describe the process of utilizing assessment data to develop recommendations for food access policy change.

Keywords: African American, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have experience with community-based research on healthy foods.
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.