The Body & Soul nutrition program from the UNC Office of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention is featured on the CDC’s Prevention Research Center website. The program has been proven to promote proper nutrition in African American faith based communities.
Body & Soul uses pastoral involvement, peer counseling, and healthy lifestyle education within churches to improve community nutritional habits. Church goers attended cooking and nutrition classes, and a farmers market was incorporated into church activities.
As a central component to the program, increased fruits and vegetables were available at all church events. Churches were chosen as the basis of Body & Soul because they frequently serve food, and have easy access to large parts of a community.
Six months after the program began, participants reported decreased fat intake and significantly higher fruit and vegetable consumption. They also reported high levels of social support and motivation to make healthy eating choices.
In addition to its recognition by the CDC, Body & Soul has been embraced by the American Cancer Society as a national cancer control program. It has also been included in the National Cancer Institute’s and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Research Tested Intervention Programs
The CDC views Body & Soul as an encouraging step towards eliminating health disparities in the US.