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nutrition education and obesity prevention branch (NEOPB)



African Americans and Latinos suffer disproportionately from many preventable and diet-related diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.

Over 46% of Latinos and 55% of African Americans say they attend church “at least once a week” or “almost every week.”

Recruiting churches to participate in this initiative is one of the most effective ways to build transformative relationships within the African American and Latino communities. ​​

African American Body and Soul

Body & Soul is an evidence-based nutrition intervention designed to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables among African Americans in church settings.  Compared to control participants, African American church-goers who participated in Body & Soul:

  • Decreased their percentage of calories from fat;
  • Were more motivated to eat fruits and vegetables; and
  • Had greater self-efficacy and social supports to eat fruits and vegetables.

The components include church-wide nutrition activities, such as a kick-off event, forming a health committee, conducting at least three nutrition education events, and establishing church-wide health policies. 

A mandatory training is required to receive the African American Body & Soul manual.  Please contact the Local Health Department in your county to sign up for a training session.

Health Ministry Guide: Building a Healthy Body and Soul (PDF, 2.1MB)

Latino Body and Soul

In 2008, Latino Body & Soul initiative conducted a pilot test using Body & Soul in predominantly Latino churches. The findings indicated that the intervention groups were eating more fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods than before starting Body & Soul and increased their understanding of the importance of eating fruits and vegetables for good health.  Additionally, some churches adopted healthy food policies for their church events after participating in the study.

For more information regarding Faith Based initiatives, please contact or 916-449-5331.

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