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Multilevel faith-based public health initiative in rural Alabama, 2017


Powers, A.R.; Brock, R.W.; Funderburk, K.; Parmer, S.M.; Struempler, B.


Recent shifts in public health approaches to reduce and prevent chronic disease encourage interventions to include multiple levels of the social ecological model. The objective of this 1-group pretest-posttest study was to determine differences in faith community policies and environments; interpersonal support; and individual behavior before and after Live Well Faith Communities, a 9-week, faith-based health promotion initiative. The study included a convenience sample of faith communities and participants. Validated instruments assessed faith communities' policies and environments and participants' interpersonal and individual practices and behaviors. Seventy-two small-group sessions with 737 adults were implemented in 14 faith communities. Faith communities adopted policies requiring healthy options for meals and snacks and implemented environmental changes to promote healthy eating and physical activity. Participants reported significant improvements in healthy eating encouragement, shopping practices, and vegetable consumption. Multilevel interventions prompt community organizations to become healthier places and individuals to adopt healthy lifestyles. © 2019 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).