The role of health policies in faith-based institutions in promoting health and changing food practices: The philadelphia ujima experience

Candace Robertson-James, Lidyvez Sawyer, Sulianie Mertus, Diana Robertson, Sharon Congleton, Suzanne Watkins, Judith Wolf, Ana Núñez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The Philadelphia Ujima Health Collaborative uses a community-based participatory research framework to address nutrition in underserved communities. Participation in individual-level focused health promotion activities motivated two faith-based partners to develop wellness policies to better inform their health promoting practices, specifically around food served at church events. OBJECTIVES: This study investigated the effectiveness of church-based policies in influencing 1) organizational practices regarding food and beverages served and sold and 2) individual attitudes and practices toward healthy eating. METHODS: Congregants completed questionnaires assessing their knowledge and awareness of the policy as well as observed changes in institutional and personal practices. Additionally key informant interviews were conducted with ministry leaders and members. RESULTS: As a result of the wellness policies developed, sites increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, and water at events. Institutional barriers and lessons learned were identified. CONCLUSIONS: Effective community-academic partnerships using community participatory approaches with a health in all policies focus can improve health behaviors in diverse and underserved communities and engage them to play an active role in health promotion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-429
Number of pages11
JournalProgress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action
Volume12
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

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