Physical activity participation in African American churches.

Melissa Bopp, Sara Wilcox, Marilyn Laken, Lottie McClorin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The potential benefit of physical activity (PA) programs delivered through churches is largely unexamined. This study examined availability of PA programs, interpersonal support for PA, and PA participation in African-American churches. Individuals from a random sample of 20 churches in South Carolina participated in a telephone survey (N = 571). Forty two percent of respondents reported PA programs at their churches. Walking programs (20%), aerobics (22%) or a combination of both (20%) were most common. Respondents who reported having these programs were more likely to meet PA recommendations than those who did not (p = 0.05). Larger churches were more likely to offer PA programs (p = 0.02) than small or medium sized churches. Only 24% of respondents had spoken with the health director at their church about participating in a PA program, and only 25% and 33% had ever spoken with another church member about a PA program or were encouraged to join a PA program, respectively. Individuals with more interpersonal support from other church members for PA were significantly more likely to meet PA recommendations (p = 0.01). This study indicates that program and interpersonal supports within African American churches may offer a venue for increasing PA among members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-31
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of cultural diversity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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