The role of churches in disease prevention research studies.
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The role of churches in disease prevention research studies.

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  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      Public Health Rep
    • Description:
      The design of a large-scale research project (The Health and Religion Project) in which church volunteers deliver behavior change programming on major cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, elevated blood pressure, elevated serum cholesterol, excess weight, and physical inactivity) is described. A total of 20 churches (Roman Catholic, Baptist, and Episcopal) were recruited throughout Rhode Island and randomly assigned to five experimental conditions. These conditions were designed to test the necessity of training special task forces to coordinate efforts within each church and to test the relative efficacy of high or low levels of professional (paid staff) involvement. Churches have many characteristics that are compatible with behavior change programming for primary prevention of chronic diseases. However, there have been very few research studies of churches engaging in primary prevention activities. Thus, the first step was to test the churches' receptivity to participation in this type of project. To do this, all churches in Rhode Island were surveyed by mail and phone. Those that met several eligibility criteria were randomly selected for recruitment into the study. The high receptivity of the churches was demonstrated by a response rate of 65 percent (20 of 31). This readiness is bolstered by the fact that all of the 20 churches that originally began the study have remained involved for at least 2 1/2 years.
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