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

Research examines the published literature on health programs in faith-based organizations to determine the effectiveness of these programs.

 Researchers conducted a systematic qualitative review of health-related databases for the years 1990 through 2000. Especially articles which describing faith-based health activities evaluated. 386 articles were screened for eligibility (n=105), whether a faith-based health program was described (n=53), and whether program effects were reported (28). We conducted

 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.

 Researchers provided tree recommendations about the topic:

Recommendation 1: Increase collaboration between FBOs and health professionals for the purpose of evaluating health activities and disseminating findings.

Recommendation 2: Place more emphasis on effectiveness studies as opposed to efficacy studies.

Recommendation 3: Devote more attention to building relationships with the racially and ethnically diverse populations that increasingly characterize communities in the United States.

 In 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.


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