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Live Well Faith Communities: Creating a Healthier Rural Alabama

| Alabama

Nov 19, 2018

Live Well Faith Communities helps rural Alabama faith communities to bring healthy eating and active living to their members. These communities are now healthier places to worship! 

Program Summary

Alabama Extension at Auburn University SNAP-Ed partnered with 14 faith communities in 8 rural counties to pilot Live Well Faith Communities (LWFC) in 2017.

SNAP-Ed educators and LWFC lay leaders used the LWFC Protocol and Faithful Families curriculum to implement 9, 1-hour weekly small group sessions focused on:

  • planning, shopping and food prep
  • eating fruits and veggies and drinking water 
  • exercising
  • Recipe demos, exercise breaks, and social media postings complemented lessons every week

SNAP-Ed educators and faith community leaders also worked together to conduct a needs assessment. They developed and implemented a plan focused on policies, systems and environmental (PSE) changes. These changes made the faith communities healthier places to worship.

Program Impact

People participating in LWFC reported significant improvement in how often they:

  • think about healthy food choices when deciding what to feed their families
  • compare prices before buying food
  • use the “Nutrition Facts” on the food label to make food choices
  • buy food with lower added sugar
  • eat vegetables

Faith communities became healthier places to worship

Several faith communities adopted new guidelines for healthy choices at meals or snacks such as requiring fruits, vegetables, non-fried foods, and foods with low or no added sugar.

  • One faith community started an onsite garden.
  • One faith community started adding exercise breaks at meetings or functions.
  • One faith community started offering aerobics classes.

Type of Program

Nutrition Education; PSE changes

Years of Implementation

2017 – Present

Number of Participants

Extension educators provides 72 small group sessions for 737 adults in 14 faith communities.

Program Evaluation

Prior to the start of weekly small group sessions, participants completed a participant pre-assessment.  Prior to the start of weekly small group sessions, Extension educators supported faith community leaders in completing a pre-assessment. Findings were used to develop a LWFC action plan to guide implementation of priority PSE strategies. After completing nine-weeks of small group sessions, both faith communities and participants completed post-assessments.  

This article was submitted by Alabama Extension at Auburn University SNAP-Ed. For more information please contact Alicia Powers.