Health Promotion in Communities of Faith
According to the CDC, more than 46 million Americans (about 15 percent of the U.S. population) live in rural areas. Due to the characteristics of life in rural areas. Due to the characteristics of life in rural areas, residents tend to have higher rates of chronic disease compared to non-rural residents. Taylor County is no exception: According to the 2018 County Health Rankings Report, which measures the current overall health of each county, Taylor County ranked 47th out of 67 counties.
What is Faithful Families?
In an effort to encourage rural residents to increase healthy behaviors, UF/IFAS Extension Taylor County has partnered with a local faith community to provide the Faithful Families Eating Smart and Moving More program. This health promotion intervention promotes healthy eating, physical activity and environmental changes while encouraging participants to make the connection between health and faith
The Success of Faithful Families
The successful implementation of the Faithful Families program required the designation of a lay health leader to promote the program. Mrs. Pat Patterson, a well-known community altruist, was selected for this position. During the course of the program, Mrs. Patterson worked collaboratively with the Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent to implement the program. Class subject matter included choosing more fruits and vegetables, portion control, shopping on a budget, moving more throughout the day and making smart drink choice among others. Also, weekly healthy recipe was prepared and sampled by all participants. To date, the program has reached over 80 adults and youth in three local churches, New Brooklyn Missionary Baptist Church, Stewart Memorial AME and Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church. Program participants have commented that since the Faithful Families program, they are now offering healthier choices in what they eat and drink during church meals and in their daily lives. Preliminary results of the program are showing that making positive changes in at least one food resource management practice because the Faithful Families program. Faith-based health promotion, as a means of reaching health vulnerable populations in rural areas, is looking at showing continued success.
Lori Wiggins, UF/IFAS Extension Agent III
If you would like more information about Faithful Families or other nutrition information, please contact your local extension office.