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Health interventions for clergy must counteract need to put others first
Date:6/28/2012

e Clergy Health Initiative has found that compared to other North Carolinians, United Methodist clergy have higher-than-average rates of obesity (40 percent versus 29 percent), as well as higher rates of diabetes, asthma, arthritis and hypertension. They also exhibit symptoms of depression at nearly double the national average: 10.5 percent vs. 5.5 percent.

Yet, despite reporting higher rates of chronic disease, these clergy were more likely to say their health did not affect their ability to do their work.

"Clergy perceive themselves to be much healthier than they actually are," said Proeschold-Bell. "They don't always recognize that they need help. That makes it all the more important that we design health interventions that pastors are likely to accept."

The Duke Clergy Health Initiative is testing this idea through a multi-year health intervention called Spirited Life.

More than 60 percent of the United Methodist clergy in North Carolina are currently enrolled in the program, through which they receive two years of intervention services. The program is theologically grounded and is the first study to combine weight loss and stress management interventions into a single program lasting more than 12 months.


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Contact: Kate Rugani
krugani@div.duke.edu
919-613-5345
Duke University
Source:Eurekalert

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