Faithful Families Program

— Written By and last updated by Patricia Burch
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Are you a leader at your church or religious organization? Do you enjoy having programs for your congregation? Is living a healthy lifestyle party of your faith-based practices? North Carolina Cooperative Extension has the perfect program for you! Faithful Families Eating Smart and Moving More provides families with the skills to be able to eat more meals at home, and move more in their everyday routine. This program is focused on educating faith-based communities about diet, nutrition, food resource management, and food safety.

Faithful Families is a nine-week program that can be implemented during a convenient time for your faith-based group. The program is taught through your Family & Consumer Sciences Agent or the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program educator and a lay leader. What is a lay leader you ask? Lay leaders are vital to the success of the program. Lay leaders are trained to promote the program, co-teach the curriculum, act as liaisons between the health educator and the faith community leaders, promote individual and organizational change related to healthy eating and physical activity, and connect their faith communities to local resources. Does this sound like you?

There are four main components of the Faithful Families program. The first is Eating Smart at Home. There are a total of six sessions in this component. These sessions focus on simple solutions for planning, shopping, fixing, and eating more meals at home. Research has shown families who eat together at home tend to eat more fruits and vegetables and less fat. Eating at home as a family is a great way to begin to eat smart.

The next component is Eating Smart on the Run. Eating out can mean large portion sizes and too many soft drinks. Eating Smart on the Run provides families skills to choose beverages wisely when eating away from home.

Our third component is Moving More, Every day, Everywhere, Watching Less. Building physical activity into the day doesn’t require special equipment or a special place. Families learn ways to take advantage of everyday opportunities like taking the stairs and parking farther away. Moving more can also be a fun family event like a trip to a park or a walk after dinner. Every step counts toward the recommended 30 minutes for adults and 60 minutes for children per day.

The final component is Faith and Health Connection. Promoting the connection between faith and health is important to the success of Faithful Families. Families begin to consider how their physical health is connected to the faith they live out daily. Participants and lay leaders, in promoting the adoption of policy and environmental changes, will lead the faith community to promote nutrition and physical activity through its practice.

It is my goal to reach at least two faith-based groups in Sampson County this year with the Faithful Families program. If you are interested in having this program at your organization, please contact me at 910-592-7161 or We have many other programs available at our N.C. Cooperative Extension, Sampson County office. If you are looking for a program, or find a need in the community, please contact us. We love hearing from community members about programs they would like to see in our variety of subject areas.