Interest in Health Promotion Among Korean American Seventh-day Adventists Attending a Religious Retreat

  • Jo, Angela M. (Family & Community Medicine, University of New Mexico) ;
  • Maxwell, Annette E. (UCLA Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and UCLA School of Public Health, UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity) ;
  • Choi, Sun-Hye (UCLA Department of Community Health Sciences) ;
  • Bastani, Roshan (UCLA Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and UCLA School of Public Health, UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity)
  • Published : 2012.06.30


Background: Little is known about interest in faith-based health promotion programs among Asian American populations. Among the Christian denominations, the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) church is known to place a strong doctrinal emphasis on health. Objectives: To understand appropriate ways to develop and implement health promotion programs and to conduct research among Korean American SDAs. Methods: We collaborated with the North American Division of Korean SDA Churches which sponsors annual week-long religious retreats for their church members. We developed and administered a 10-page questionnaire at their 2009 retreat in order to assess socio-demographic and church characteristics, religiosity, perceived relationship between health and religion, and interest and preferences for church-based health promotion programs. Results: Overall, 223 participants completed our survey (123 in Korean and 100 in English). The sample consisted of regular churchgoers who were involved in a variety of helping activities, and many holding leadership positions in their home churches. The vast majority was interested in receiving health information at church (80%) in the form of seminars, cooking classes and workshops (50-60%). Fewer respondents were interested in support groups (27%). Some interests and preferences differed between English and Korean language groups. Conclusion: Korean American SDA church retreat participants from a large geographic area are very interested in receiving health information and promoting health at their churches and can potentially serve as "agents of influence" in their respective communities.


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