Date of Award

12-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Food Science

First Advisor

Dr. Detri Brech

Second Advisor

Dr. C. Marvin Pate

Third Advisor

Dr. Amber Chelette

Abstract

Background: The Christian Protestant church is known for its dedication to the spiritual well-being of its members. It is also known for its outreach and charity efforts in the community. A large need in the community is health behavior interventions, but more research is needed to assess the appropriateness and the receptiveness of the church to promoting health interventions.

Objective: The purpose of this research was done to evaluate current research regarding health behaviors in the church and contribute to the existing data by conducting a survey of a Baptist church in Southwest Arkansas.

Methods: The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of Ouachita Baptist University. The questionnaire included basic demographic information and a series of statements with Likert scales. Eighty-nine individuals were recruited from a Baptist church in Southwest Arkansas, and participation was voluntary. Data was tabulated using an Excel spreadsheet, which provided totals and percentages by use of formulas.

Results: The survey received a total of 70 complete responses. Respondents indicated that healthy behaviors were important to them as individuals, although they were slightly less inclined to agree that those behaviors should be a priority in the Christian lifestyle and the church. Furthermore, their responses indicated that their pastoral staff and churches were not actively promoting these behaviors, so there is room for growth and improvement.

Conclusions: While respondents valued both physical activity and nutrition, their lifestyles did not directly reflect their convictions. They also thought that their church and pastoral staff valued physical health, although they could improve in promoting health throughout the church setting.

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