Interventions on diet and physical activity: What Works
While the number of interventions in religious settings is small, there is consistent evidence of positive psychosocial, behavioural and physical changes related with intervention targeting diet and physical activity in this setting.
Evidence indicates that culturally appropriate and multi-component diet interventions that are planned and implemented in collaboration with religious leaders and congregational members using pastoral support and spiritual strategies; and those that include group education sessions and self-help strategies are effective.
Using the existing social structure of a religious community appears to facilitate adoption of changes towards a healthy lifestyle, especially in disadvantaged communities. There are also great advantages in terms of cost of this type of study since, in many cases, the spiritual members themselves may take responsibility for the intervention within the ambit of the religious environment.