243545 Lessons from the The GoodNEWS (Genes, Nutrition, Exercise, Wellness, and Spiritual Growth) Trial: Combining the faith and health perspective

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Jenny Jeonghee Lee, PhD, MPH, CHES , Department of Health, Physical Education, and Exercise Science, College of Education and Health Professions, Columbus State University, Columbus, GA
Mark J. DeHaven, Ph D , Family Medicine and Texas Prevention Institute (TPI), University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, TX
Issue: Improving health requires stronger faith and health collaboration. Recent epigenetic studies demonstrate that improving individuals' health depends on combining chemical signals (e.g. food, liquid, or air) and messaging signals (e.g. thoughts, feelings, beliefs, or attitudes). However, health professionals tend to emphasize healthy chemical balance (e.g. low-fat diet or exercise) and faith professionals tend to emphasize healthy messages (e.g. love, hope, or forgiveness). Means are needed for integrating the perspectives of faith and health professionals. Description: The GoodNEWS Project combines faith and health perspectives, respectively, into a unified congregation-based program promoting health and wellbeing. More than 100 congregations have collaborated on feasibility studies (2001-2002), pilot studies (2002-2005), validation studies (2005-2007), and a randomized clinical trial (2007-2012; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, RO1 HL087768). Lessons Learned: GoodNEWS participants have successfully increased physical activity (p=.02) and fruit and vegetable consumption (p=.01), reduced caloric (p=.001) and saturated fat intake (p=.001), and improved spiritual wellbeing (p=.01). However, during the past decade GoodNEWS has not been successful at integrating the health perspective into the perspective of faith leaders or the faith perspective into the perspective of health leaders engaged in the program. Recommendations: Steps need to be taken to more thoroughly integrate the perspectives and activities of faith and health leaders, in order to improve the health and wellbeing of those they serve. The GoodNEWS Institute is a non-profit organization being developed by faith and health leaders for this purpose. It will provide a home for collaborative training, research, and service programs and experiences.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the GoodNEWS approach for combining faith and health. Describe the rationale for combining faith and health from the perspective of recent epigenetic evidence. Discuss recent advances in knowledge about the epigenome and how beliefs conribute to positive (or negative) health outcomes. Identify the factors and components of health from a comprehensive perspective combining faith and health approaches.

Keywords: Faith Community, Genetics

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a health scientist and a neuroscientist who has been working in this area for more than two decades, and have expertise in community-based lifestyle enhancement in the faith community setting.
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.