The majority of the US population is affiliated with faith-based organizations (FBO). Health and wellness activities (HWAs) within FBOs have great potential for reach, though the factors influencing faith-based HWA are not well understood. The purpose of this study was to examine individual faith leader and institutional influences on HWAs offered within FBOs. A national convenience sample of faith leaders (N = 844) completed an online survey assessing individual (demographics, health, health behaviors and attitudes) and institutional influences (size, location and external support) on health and HWA within FBO. Respondents were primarily White (93%), male (72%), middle-aged and affiliated with Methodist (42.5%) or Lutheran (20.2%) religions. Respondents reported 4.8 ± 3.2 HWA within their FBO per year. Faith leader education, length of service to the FBO, physical activity and fruit/vegetable intake were positively related to HWA and body mass index was negatively related. Denomination, congregation diversity, location and size were also related to HWA. Results show a strong relationship between faith leaders' health and HWA, indicating the influence of the social environment on health promotion in FBOs. Institutional variables, though not modifiable, were significant predictors of HWA and should be considered when delivering interventions to achieve a significant impact.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health