Faith-based interventions to enhance physical activity may be important to consider in some communities because these settings have traditionally been places where people trust the information provided. Some recent work suggests that congregation members are more likely to adhere to the messages conveyed across the pulpit than through other sources. Faith-based programs to enhance physical activity may include interventions focused on the individual, or the physical built environment (e.g., walking trails around the faith facility, fitness areas within the facilities). In addition, there is a growing body of evidence showing the importance of developing faith-based programs that enhance social support for physical activity.
Previous work in faith-based settings has found:
- Adding physical activity messages in church bulletins can reach populations in that might not respond to messages provided in other settings. Health messages may be trusted more coming from faith-based communities as opposed to the community at large.
- Based on success in recruiting and retaining individuals, along with positive outcomes, churches are an excellent setting in which to implement and evaluate health education programs for the African American community, especially those in the middle to upper socioeconomic status, who are under-represented in health promotion interventions
- Churches are an important setting in which to conduct physical activity education sessions, since a high percentage of African Americans attend church and view it as an important institution within their community.
- Churches are conducive to physical activity education programs since they typically have meeting space and other facilities.