Faith-based Health Resources
As trusted community leaders, many organizations recognize the important role churches and faith-based organizations play in supporting healthy, thriving communities. It is impossible to list all faith-based resources in this section; however, we have highlighted national AMEC resources and active initiatives that support physical activity and healthy eating. In addition to these resources, we have provided information about promising physical activity and healthy eating programs from around the country.
AMECHealth.org is an interactive website designed to assist health directors and AMEC members access health information. Health directors and registered members may access discussion sessions to exchange health information and coordinate health initiatives and efforts. Videos and resources are available from health and faith experts on a range of health topics including how to incorporate faith, healthy foods and fitness into a healthier lifestyle.
To learn more about AMECHealth.org and it’s programs and resources, CLICK HERE.
The National Episcopal Health Ministries has the vision that every Episcopal congregation becomes a place of health and wholeness. Its mission is to “promote the health ministry in Episcopal congregations, and assist them to reclaim the Gospel imperative of health and wholeness.” Its website provides resources for congregations and other organizations on such topics as: starting a wellness committee, guidelines for a healthy meeting, planning a health and wellness fair, starting a walking program among other activities to promote a healthier lifestyle.
CLICK HERE to learn more about resources available through the National Episcopal Health Ministries.
Let's Move Faith and Communities is designed to help faith-based and neighborhood organizations transform & engage communities in promoting healthy choices by taking part in activities such as: growing a community garden, offering healthier community meals rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and taking the active lifestyle challenge by being active five days a week! The message of Let’s Move Faith and Communities is simple – it’s the little changes in daily and family life that can make all the difference in staying healthy!
CLICK HERE to learn more about Let’s Move Faith and Communities and to download a toolkit.
Healthy Eating programs
Body and Soul is a church-wide program designed to increase healthy eating. This program has been evaluated in several national studies and shown to be effective in getting people to eat more fruits and vegetables. Program activities include: hosting a kick-off event, forming a project committee, hosting healthy eating events, and working to involve the pastor in supporting healthy eating by setting church policies and guidelines. Churches are encouraged to host guest speakers, cooking demonstrations and taste tests. Body and Soul also suggests using self-help materials such as a cookbook, video, and educational pamphlets. Many excellent resources are available and ready for your congregation to use!
For more information, visit rtips.canser.gov.
Eating for a Healthy Life is a program designed to help church members lower their fat intake and increase their fruit, vegetable, and whole grains by making healthier eating choices for themselves and their families. Eating for a Healthy Life was evaluated in a randomized study and was shown to reduce fat intake and increase fiber intake. The program uses a manual to provide step-by-step training. Training focuses on how to develop an advisory committee, engage members in healthy eating, and use materials such as self-help booklets to encourage members to make healthier choices. Posters, flyers, healthy eating tip sheets and recipe handouts are included.
For more information, visit: http://rtips.cancer.gov/rtips/programDetails.do?programId=304465
The Eat for Life program is a church-based program that used motivational interviewing to increase fruit and vegetable intake among African Americans. Eat for Life was evaluated in 14 African American churches in Atlanta and was shown to increase fruit and vegetable intake. Program materials include: an Eat for Life Cookbook to motivate healthy eating and address challenges related to increasing fruit and vegetable intake, and a videotape featuring biblical and spiritual themes related to fruits and vegetables.
For more information, visit: http://rtips.cancer.gov/rtips/programDetails.do?programId=224488
The NC Black Churches United for Better Health program uses bulletins and other printed materials to increase awareness about the importance of healthy eating (e.g., increase fruit and vegetable intake). This program was tested in 50 Black churches within 10 rural counties in North Carolina and was shown to increase fruit and vegetable intake. Program activities to increase fruit and vegetable access include gardening, education sessions, cookbook and recipe tasting, and serving more fruits and vegetables at church functions. Activities to increase social and environmental support include using lay health advisors and encouraging pastor support, creating community coalitions, and involving local grocers and farmers markets.
For more information, visit: http://rtips.cancer.gov/rtips/programDetails.do?programId=203202
Physical Activity programs
Walk to Jerusalemis a walking program developed by St. John Providence Health Systemparish nursing and is designed to increase the physical, spiritual, and emotional health of participants. This “imaginary” trip to Jerusalemis accomplished by individuals within the church or organization logging their walking miles each week. The Walk to Jerusalem usually begins in January with thegoal ofaccumulating enough miles to reach Jerusalem by Easter. The fall version of this walk is Walk to Bethlehem. Thiswalk begins in September with the intent of reaching Bethlehem for the Christmas celebrations. As a community of faith, each church and member is challenged to look beyond self, beyond the local church walls and to draw together collectively in their "walk."
For more information, visit: http://www.stjohnprovidence.org/walktojerusalem/
Healthy Eating & Physical Activity programs
The Healthy Body Healthy Spirit program aims to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity among African Americans. This program was tested in 16 Black churches in the Atlanta area and was shown to increase fruit and vegetables intake and increase physical activity. Biblical themes are woven throughout the program. The program provides churches with an exercise videotape and guidebook; a nutrition videotape; and a cookbook of recipes. A copy of gospel music set to match a three-phase workout: warm-up, aerobic activity, and cool down is also provided. Healthy Body Healthy Spirit also used motivational interviewing telephone calls from trained counselors to keep members on track with their physical activity and healthy eating goals.
For more information, visit: http://rtips.cancer.gov/rtips/programDetails.do?programId=220755
The Office of Minority Health (OMH) at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC) developed the Protect Your Body. Protect Your Temple Toolkit to provide African-American faith-based organizations with ideas and resources to help them plan, develop, and implement health related programs and activities. The toolkit includes ways to get reliable health information out to congregations and communities about physical activity and nutrition, along with a monthly health observance list.
To learn more about Protect Your Body Protect Your Temple and to download a toolkit click the link: http://www.scdhec.gov/administration/library/CR-009934.pdf
WATCH (Wellness for African Americans Through Churches) is a church-based program developed in North Carolina to prevent and detect colorectal cancer early. The program was evaluated and found to be effective at improving behaviors. The program is aimed at improving nutrition, physical activity, and regular colorectal cancer screening among African American church members. Activities include computer-tailored health newsletters and four targeted videotapes focused on increasing fruit and vegetable intake, increasing physical activity, increasing cancer screening, and decreasing fat intake. Lay health advisors all provide support to church members by encouraging them to adopt or continue healthy lifestyle behaviors.
For more information, visit: http://www.watchproject.net/index.html#