Disease Messaging in Churches: Implications for Health in African-American Communities
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Using the right messaging strategies, churches can help promote behavior change. Frequencies of disease-specific messages in 21 African-American churches were compared to overall and cancer-specific mortality and morbidity rates as well as church-level variables. Disease messages were found in 1025 of 2166 items. Frequently referenced topics included cancer (n = 316), mental health conditions (n = 253), heart disease (n = 246), and infectious diseases (n = 220). Messages for lung and colorectal cancers appeared at low frequency despite high mortality rates in African-American communities. Season, church size, and denomination showed significant associations with health messages. Next steps include testing messaging strategies aimed at improving the health of churchgoing communities.
KeywordsDisease prevention African Americans Health communication
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Center on Minority and Health and Health Disparities Grant No. 1R24MD002769-01, an Established Investigator Award in Cancer Prevention and Control from the Cancer Training Branch of the National Cancer Institute to J. R. Hébert (K05 CA136975), and support from a National Cancer Institute Cancer Education and Career Development Program for B. E. Harmon (R25 CA098566).
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