According to the Pew Research Center (2016) Utah is the 11th most religious state in the nation, with 64% of adults classified as highly religious and 53% reporting that they attend church services weekly. Faith-based groups are important elements of healthy, thriving communities. In unique ways, churches and other religious institutions can support their members’ efforts to live healthy lifestyles. Armed with an intimate understanding of disparities within communities, faith-based groups can serve and support people from all backgrounds.

Active Living in Faith-Based Groups

Faith-based groups can support activities and programs that encourage physical activity and teach healthy lifestyles. Youth programs can be especially effective in promoting healthy habits at an early age.

Healthy Eating in Faith-Based Groups

Research has shown that efforts made by faith-based groups to encourage healthy eating have a positive effect on their members. These efforts include:

  • Encouraging pastoral involvement and support
  • Organizing peer counseling for participants
  • Offering church-wide activities that promote healthy food choices such as a health fair or cooking classes
  • Serving fresh fruits and vegetables at their events
  • Sponsoring a farmer’s market at the church

CDC: Body and Soul

Mental Wellness in Faith-Based Groups

Spirituality and religious beliefs are an important part of how many people deal with the ups and downs in life. Many religions offer guidelines for happy, healthy lifestyles. Studies show that religion and faith can help promote good health and fight disease by:

  • Offering additional social supports, such as religious outreach groups
  • Improving coping skills through prayer and a philosophy that all things have a purpose

Kids Health

Research shows that church meals have the potential
to impact overall dietary behaviors.

Faith-based health promotion interventions can reach
broad populations and have a great potential
for reducing health disparities.

Religious affiliation and church attendance can
improve physical and psychological health.