Journal of Physical Activity Research
ISSN (Print): 2576-1919 ISSN (Online): 2574-4437 Website: Editor-in-chief: Peter Hart
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Journal of Physical Activity Research. 2017, 2(2), 80-84
DOI: 10.12691/jpar-2-2-3
Open AccessArticle

Practicing What They Preach? Physical Activity Promotion among Clergy

Benjamin L. Webb1, and Melissa J. Bopp2

1Department of Applied Health, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville, USA

2Department of Kinesiology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, USA

Pub. Date: October 25, 2017

Cite this paper:
Benjamin L. Webb and Melissa J. Bopp. Practicing What They Preach? Physical Activity Promotion among Clergy. Journal of Physical Activity Research. 2017; 2(2):80-84. doi: 10.12691/jpar-2-2-3


A key public health goal in the U.S. is to increase the number of people that engage in regular physical activity. Faith-based organizations are prominent in many communities, making them a viable partner in pursuit of this goal. As leaders of FBOs, clergy are uniquely positioned to promote physical activity to a large segment of the U.S. population. The purpose of this study was to examine factors associated with physical activity promotion among clergy. A convenience sample of clergy (N = 497) from the largest denominations in Pennsylvania completed web-based questionnaires about their physical activity promotion practices. Multiple logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios of clergy promoting physical activity. Forty-five percent of clergy reported that they had promoted physical activity to their congregation during sermons and 14% reported promoting physical activity during one-on-one counseling. Notable findings were that clergy who were female, reported fewer chronic diseases, had more health-related education, and were meeting physical activity recommendations were more likely to promote physical activity. The results of this study indicate that gender, health status, health-related education, and engaging in regular physical activity may be important influences on whether clergy promote physical activity to their congregations. More research is needed to better understand additional characteristics of clergy who engage in physical activity promotion, as well as whether changes in physical activity behavior would lead to changes in physical activity promotion practices among clergy.

physical activity health faith-based clergy counseling

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