Faithful Families Wellness Program
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What is Faithful Families?
Faithful Families Thriving Communities offers faith communities simple solutions to help them eat smart, move more, and prevent chronic disease. The program provides individuals, families, and communities with the skills to be able to eat more meals at home, move more in their everyday routines, and help their communities lead healthier lives.
Mission: Inspiring faith communities to be health champions for individuals, families, and local communities.
Faithful Families Thriving Communities (Faithful Families, previously Faithful Families Eating Smart and Moving More) works directly in faith communities to promote health for individuals, families, and local communities. This practice-tested health promotion intervention is open to all faith and religious traditions.
Faithful Families trains and brings together program facilitators (nutrition and health educators) and Lay Leaders (non-clergy members) to co-deliver the program in faith-based settings. Over the course of the program, program facilitators engage each faith community in healthy eating and physical activity education, chronic disease prevention, environmental changes to support health, and community-wide health initiatives.
Direct Peer Education
The nine-lesson Eating Smart and Moving More Curriculum and four additional Chronic Disease Lessons are co-taught by program facilitators and Lay Leaders. Through group discussions, recipe taste tests, and activities, individuals and families are encouraged to set goals for leading healthier lives. Lay Leaders bring the spiritual elements into each session, through discussion questions and prompts in each lesson.
Policy, Systems, and Environmental Supports
Throughout the program, facilitators work with each faith community to implement at least one policy and one environmental change to support their members’ long-term health.
As the program progresses, facilitators help faith communities connect to community and clinical programs and resources. Faith communities can also advocate for community health by participating in local coalitions and by using their particular resources to support community health initiatives.
How Does the Program Work?
The Eating Smart and Moving More curriculum includes a Lay Leader Training Guide and nine lessons.
Lay Leader Training Guide
This training guide provides an overview of the vital role of lay leaders in Faithful Families. Lay leaders are vital to the success of the program. Lay leaders are trained to promote the program, co-teach the curriculum, act as liaisons between the health educator and the faith community leaders, promote individual and organizational change related to healthy eating and physical activity, and connect their faith communities to local resources.
Eating Smart at Home
Simple solutions for planning, shopping, fixing, and eating more meals at home. Families who eat together at home eat more fruits and vegetables and less fat. Eating at home as a family is a great way to begin to eat smart.
Eating Smart on the Run
Eating out can mean large portion sizes and too many soft drinks. Eating Smart on the Run provides families with the skills to choose beverages wisely when eating away from home.
Moving More, Every Day, Everywhere
Building physical activity into the day doesn’t require special equipment or a special place. Families learn ways to take advantage of everyday opportunities like taking the stairs and parking farther away. Moving more can also be a fun family event like a trip to a park or a walk after dinner. Every step counts toward the recommended 30 minutes for adults and 60 minutes for children per day.
Faith and Health Connection
Promoting the connection between faith and health is important to the success of Faithful Families. Families begin to consider how their physical health is connected to the faith they live out daily. Participants and lay leaders, in promoting the adoption of policy and environmental changes, will lead the faith community to promote nutrition and physical activity through its practices.
Faithful Families is Successful
- 2017 data from North Carolina shows that 93% of participants made positive changes in at least one nutrition practice and 78% made positive changes in at least one food resource management practice as a result of Faithful Families classes.
- In North Carolina alone, over 250 policy and environmental changes that promote healthy eating and physical activity have been made in faith communities.
- Trained Lay Leaders have become health ambassadors in their faith communities, their families, and their communities.
- Faithful Families has been accepted as a “Practice-Tested Intervention” by the Center of Excellence for Training and Research Translation (Center TRT) at UNC Chapel Hill.