Examining Characteristics of Congregation Members Willing to Attend Health Promotion in African American Churches
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BACKGROUND: Although churches are an important partner for improving health within the African American community, it is not known how congregants are best reached by health promotion activities and thus how best to target members in recruitment. This study examined how characteristics of churches and congregants' beliefs and interests in faith-based health promotion related to their willingness to attend church-based health promotion activities. METHOD: We surveyed adult congregants (n = 1,204) of 11 predominately African American churches in North Carolina. Surveys collected data within four domains: demographics (age, sex, education), behavioral (church attendance, respondent food choices, and physical activity), cognitive (church-based health promotion belief, Bible-based healthy living interest, healthy living resource interest), or environmental (family health, church travel distance, church health ministry activity, church members' food choices). Analyses used a dichotomous outcome, interest in attending programs offered by the health ministry. Domain-specific models were constructed. Logistic generalized estimating equations adjusted for clustering. RESULTS: Of the 1,204 congregants, 72% were female, 57% were 50 years or older, 84% had a high school education or more, and 77% had a chronic health condition. In bivariate analyses and in models adjusting for all four domains, cognitive factors had the highest odds of willingness to attend. CONCLUSION: Congregants' belief in the church's role in health promotion and their desire to learn about healthy behaviors highlight the role of the African American church as a partner in addressing health disparities and the need to capitalize on this expectation through stronger partnerships between medical and faith communities.
author list (cited authors)
Odulana, A. A., Kim, M. M., Isler, M. R., Green, M. A., Taylor, Y. J., Howard, D. L., Godley, P. A., & Corbie-Smith, G.