Lisa Schmidt

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School

Health Promotion and Human Performance

Committee Member

Christine Karshin, PhD, Chair

Committee Member

Joan Cowdery, PhD


Obesity and physical inactivity are on the rise in our society today. Combined with poor eating habits, many Americans are overweight or obese. Churches have become important settings for providing health education programs, especially for African-American populations. There have been mixed results from faith-based physical activity studies, and few have been conducted with Caucasian populations. The present study used the Walk to Jerusalem program as a motivational tool within a Caucasian faith-based setting. The objectives were to increase physical activity, decrease blood pressure and weight, if needed, and improve attitude toward physical activity. The primary objective of the project was achieved as the results showed a significant increase in level of physical activity from pre to post-program. There were no significant differences in weight or blood pressure. Faith-based settings can be useful for proving health promotion and education programs, especially for those lacking access to health care, but more long-term studies are needed.