Health Programs in Faith-Based Organizations: Are They Effective?




DeHaven, Mark J.
Hunter, Irby B.
Wilder, Laura
Walton, James W.
Berry, Jarett

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American Public Health Association

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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)

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DeHaven, M., Hunter, I. B., Wilder, L., Walton, J., & Berry, J. (2004). Health programs in faith-based organizations: Are they effective?. American Journal of Public Health, 94(6), 1030-1036. Retrieved from