Purpose: Faith community-based health promotion programming that combines exercise, health education, spirituality, and social support/networking has the potential to improve the quality of life and well-being of older adults. The purpose of this research was to determine if involvement in a faith community-based health promotion program titled Faithfully Fit Forever (FFF) impacted participants’ physical and psychosocial health. FFF is an inter-disciplinary program that was created ten-plus years ago by a healthcare system in the upper Midwest. Parish nurses and others are trained to safely implement and lead exercise-based health promotion programs in their communities. This research attempts to provide insight into the effectiveness this program. Methods/Study Design: Study participants completed a quality of life questionnaire and a battery of functional fitness tests. Subjects included 106 adults (mean age = 68.3) from 11 faith communities who participated FFF program. For comparative purposes, this study also included 72 adults (mean age = 68.7) subjects not participating in FFF. Results: The results suggest that FFF participants that had been in the program for more than 5 years had greater lower body strength, (p=.026), dynamic balance (p=.013), flexibility (p=.008) than non-participants. Differences were found in self-reported (RAND SF-36) levels of physical functioning (p = .015) and social functioning (p = .002) of FFF participants compared to non-participants. Conclusions: The results from this study suggest that faith community-based programming can favorably impact flexibility, strength and dynamic balance, as well as quality of life of participants.
|Keywords:||Faith-community, Health Promotion, Exercise|
Associate Professor, Department of Physical Education, Health and Sport, Bemidji State University, Bemidji, MN, USA