Every year cardiovascular disease, listed as the underlying cause of death, accounts for about 844,000 deaths in the U.S. That’s about 1 of every 3 deaths and one of those individuals could be sitting in the pew beside you. A 2018 study revealed that faith plays an important part in the health of a congregation.
“Implementation of a lifestyle program in a faith-based setting was very effective in improving blood pressure control and could be routine practice in places of worship,” said Gbenga Ogedegbe, M.D., M.P.H., M.S., senior author of the study, professor of medicine and population health, and director of the Center for Healthful Behavior Change at the New York University School of Medicine. “This is particularly important for black communities who suffer a disproportionately higher burden of heart disease due to high blood pressure, and who may not have access to care due to a lack of insurance or mistrust of the healthcare system.”
Locally about 40 congregations are meeting on a regular basis for health news, videos and information that can be shared back in a congregation or place of worship. The program, called Have Faith in Heart, looks at topics such as cardiovascular diseases, stroke, vaping and tobacco cessation, hypertension, Influenza and other symptoms on the mind of local congregants. While Have Faith in Heart is a year-round program, there is a special emphasis in February for American Heart Month and May for American Stroke Month.
“We certainly welcome new congregations to add to our list of participating places of worship,” said Jeanne LaSargeBono, executive director for the American Heart Association in West Michigan, who invites you to contact her at Jeanne.LaSargeBono@heart.org for more information. “We’ve been able to combine materials that are easy for congregations to use along with various video interactions to provide a robust calendar for area congregations.”
Grand Rapids and Muskegon
Southwest Michigan and Kalamazoo
For further reading: