A survey of faith leaders concerning health promotion and the level of healthy living activities occurring in faith communities in Scotland

Donna Marie Fagan (Corresponding Author), Alice Kiger, Edwin Van Teijlingen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Faith groups constitute a growing health promotion partner in North America where they help increase community capacity. However, in the United Kingdom this collaboration is seemingly far less developed. This study sought to find evidence of health promotion in faith communities and examine perceptions and attitudes concerning health promotion among faith leaders. It also sought to establish the level to which health-promoting activities currently occur in, and are organized by, places of worship in one Scottish city, Dundee. The authors distributed a self-administered questionnaire to representatives of all faith communities in Dundee (response rate 71%, n = 50). The survey identified existing, well-formed community groups, some of whom already engaged in health-promoting activities, and shared similar interests with health promotion professionals. Generally, faith leaders were positive towards the concept of health promotion and many considered health promotion to be compatible with their mission. Not all denominations were equally involved in health promotion activities, for example, some conducted annual one-off activities, while others had well-established walking groups or exercise classes. The responses suggest a degree of readiness by faith communities to engage, if invited, in health promotion programmes. These results also indicate that faith groups may constitute untapped resources, poised to contribute to local health promotion efforts. The article concludes that as the National Health Service (NHS) invests in community-based health initiatives that can have long-term sustainability, it is reasonable to make links between what is happening in North America, the interest in health promotion reported by faith leaders in this study and the possibilities for their participation in voluntary sector community health partnerships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-23
Number of pages9
JournalGlobal Health Promotion
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


  • church-based
  • churches
  • community health
  • community partners
  • places of worship
  • religion


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