Assessing and Mobilizing Faith Organizations to Implement Childhood Obesity Prevention Advocacy Strategies

Christine T. Bozlak*, James M. Kenady, Adam B. Becker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Childhood obesity remains a public health problem requiring mobilization across diverse social and political sectors. The faith-based sector can contribute to obesity prevention advocacy when existing resources are supported and leveraged. This article describes an advocacy resource assessment conducted in six Chicago faith organizations. Key administrators and congregation members were surveyed to identify organizational resources that could be mobilized for childhood obesity prevention advocacy. Survey data were analyzed using SPSS and Excel. Descriptive statistics were calculated for each organization and for all combined. Organizational resources for advocacy were identified, with varying degrees of resources within organizations. Congregation members and faith leaders expressed interest in advocacy training and activities but acknowledged competing organizational priorities. Participating organizations received a stipend to pursue recommended action items based on their assessment. Faith organizations have unique resources and human capital and can be key partners in childhood obesity prevention. Conducting an assessment prior to planning interventions and advocacy approaches can strengthen partnerships, leverage assets among partners, and ensure efforts are relevant and beneficial for faith organizations. It may also be strategic to incorporate funding in grant budgets in order to empower faith organizations to act on findings from the assessment process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)724-729
Number of pages6
JournalHealth Promotion Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • advocacy, child/adolescent health
  • chronic disease
  • community assessment
  • community intervention
  • minority health
  • needs/assets assessment
  • obesity
  • program planning and evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)


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