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Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity: How Do We Measure Up?
are being implemented in community settings to engage 8- to 10-year-old African-American girls in obesity prevention and management (Baranowski et al., 2003; Beech et al., 2003; Robinson et al., 2003; Story et al., 2003).
Faith-based organizations are also becoming more engaged in promoting healthy lifestyles. The leaders of many faiths are realizing that messages about physical health and spiritual health are congruent. Indeed, participants at the IOM committee’s symposium on healthy communities in Atlanta described several efforts being undertaken by different faith-based groups to promote health (Appendix G). This process often starts with the minister addressing his or her own health concerns as well as encouraging congregation members to make healthful nutrition and physical activity choices as a way of demonstrating their concern for others and the church family. Congregations are encouraging members to bring healthier meals to church potluck gatherings and are sponsoring health fairs, cooking and exercise demonstrations, physical activity classes, and informational sessions on how to improve the health of the congregation. Others are partnering with local health departments or other health care providers to offer health screenings at places of worship, a setting where people may feel more comfortable than they would in a health clinic. Some congregations have parish nurses or ministers who provide health information, facilitate health promotion activities, and conduct health screenings for congregational members (Brudenell, 2003; Chase-Ziolek and Iris, 2002). Research-based efforts are evaluating the effectiveness of faith-based approaches to obesity prevention; for example, a program called Healthy Body Healthy Spirit is an intervention funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to increase physical activity and the levels of consumption of fruits and vegetables among African Americans recruited through churches (Resnicow et al., 2005).
National efforts that work at the community level often involve successful collaborations among federal agencies, corporations, and community-based, youth-related organizations (Chapters 4 and 5). The numerous ongoing public-private collaborations include Action for Healthy Kids (a collaborative public-private effort focused on changes in schools and involving a number of partners including Aetna Foundation, the American Public Health Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], the Department of Education, the Kellogg’s Fund, the National Dairy Council, the National Football League, the National PTA, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and USDA) (Action for Healthy Kids, 2006) and the 5 A Day for Better Health Program (a national public-private partnership with multiple collaborators including the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Association of State and Territorial Directors of Health Promotion and Public Health Education, CDC, National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity, National Cancer Institute, Pro-