Health Programs in Faith-Based Organizations: Are They Effective?
DeHaven, Mark J.
Hunter, Irby B.
Walton, James W.
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OBJECTIVES. We examined the published literature on health programs in faith-based organizations to determine the effectiveness of these programs. METHODS. We conducted a systematic literature review of articles describing faith-based health activities. Articles (n=386) were screened for eligibility (n=105), whether a faith-based health program was described (n=53), and whether program effects were reported (28). RESULTS. Most programs focused on primary prevention (50.9%), general health maintenance (25.5%), cardiovascular health (20.7%), or cancer (18.9%). Significant effects reported included reductions in cholesterol and blood pressure levels, weight, and disease symptoms and increases in the use of mammography and breast self-examination. CONCLUSIONS. Faith-based programs can improve health outcomes. Means are needed for increasing the frequency with which such programs are evaluated and the results of these evaluations are disseminated. (Am J Public Health. 2004; 94:1030-1036)