FAIRFIELD COUNTY — Representatives from the Centers for Disease Control visited Fairfield Behavioral Health Services last week to provide an overview of the organization and get an update on the new Faith Activity Nutrition project in Fairfield County.
Faith, Activity and Nutrition — FAN — is a faith-based program to help church leaders create a healthier church environment. In September 2014, the USC Prevention Research Center received funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide the program in a larger number of churches.
In the first phase of the study, the USCPRC partners with Fairfield Behavioral Health Services and Fairfield Community Health Partners — now Fairfield Community Coordinating Council — to offer the program to churches in Fairfield County.
The goals are to help church members become stronger in health by increasing physical activity and eating a healthier diet.
How will churches benefit from FAN? A person who is physically stronger can be more active in church life.
FAN-trained Community Health Advisors Cheryl Goodwin and Bessie Gladden provide churches with training to help churches create a church environment that supports being more physically active and eating healthier.
A committee from each church meets for training and develops a plan to increase physical activity and healthy eating that best meets the needs of the church members. The training includes helping cooks or those responsible for planning menus make healthy and tasty choices for their members.
Monthly support via brief telephone contacts is also available to help churches overcome obstacles to making change.
Churches are provided with materials to post and to share with members, including church bulletin inserts, posters, and other materials to support physical activity and healthy eating. Tools church leaders can use to support FAN include a pedometer and recipes.
FAN churches that complete all study requirements will receive a stipend of $300 or $500 to help cover FAN program expenses. All churches in Fairfield County were invited to participate and of those, 60 churches enrolled. Forty of those will receive training this year and 20 will receive training next year.
Visit www.fairfieldbhs.org for more information.