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J Am Diet Assoc. 2011 Jun;111(6):889-93. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2011.03.014.

Perceived environmental church support is associated with dietary practices among African-American adults.

Author information

1
Department of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, Public Health Research Center, Columbia, SC, USA. stritesk@mailbox.sc.edu

Abstract

A unique strength of the African-American community is the importance of church and faith. Interventions promoting health might want to build on these strengths by developing faith-based interventions that encourage churches to create an environment that supports behavior change. The objective of the study was to examine the relationship between perceived environmental church support for healthy eating and intake of fruit and vegetables and fat- and fiber-related behaviors, and to examine whether these relationships differ by sex. The design was a cross-sectional study in which participants completed self-report dietary and perceived church support measures before initiation of an intervention. Relationships between fruit and vegetable consumption, fat- and fiber-related behaviors, and perceived church support (eg, total, written informational, spoken informational, instrumental [fruit and vegetable consumption only]), along with Support×Sex interactions were examined. Participants were 1,136 African-American church members from four geographically defined districts in South Carolina. Statistical analyses included regression models controlling for sex, age, years of education, health rating, and body mass index using SAS PROC MIXED. A separate model was conducted for each measure of perceived church support and each type of healthy eating index. Perceived total church support and perceived written and spoken informational church support were associated with considerably higher fruit and vegetable intake and more favorable fiber-related behaviors, whereas only perceived total and perceived written informational support were associated with more low-fat dietary behaviors. Perceived instrumental church support was not associated with fruit and vegetable consumption. No sex differences were found. The social and physical church environment can be an important factor influencing the dietary habits of its members. Future faith-based interventions should further explore the role of the church environment in improving the dietary practices of its members.

PMID:
21616203
PMCID:
PMC3103703
DOI:
10.1016/j.jada.2011.03.014
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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