Faith communities and their assets for health promotion: The views from health professionals and faith leaders in Dundee, in Scotland

Donna M. Fagan, Alice Kiger, Edwin Van Teijlingen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Within the European Union, as well as in Canada and the United States (US), health promoters employ a number of strategies to encourage community-based health improvements. This involves the creation of innovative health promotion partnerships to support and enable people to choose and engage in healthy living practices. Compared to the US, in other Western countries, such as the United Kingdom, faith communities have largely been ignored in health promotion partnerships. This study established existing evidence about health promotion in faith communities in Scotland by examining the perceptions and attitudes concerning health promotion among faith leaders and health promotion professionals. We conducted 33 semi-structured interviews with health promotion professionals (n = 9) and representatives of Christian and non-Christian faith communities (n = 24). The majority of participants expressed an interest in the concept of health promotion in a faith community and could readily envision its application in their area of work. Both groups identified multiple physical assets, as well as social supports within faith communities that could be directed towards healthy living activities. Faith groups and church organisations may constitute potential partners and new settings to increase community capacity for health promotion. Further research and funding for demonstration projects may be particularly helpful to provide evidence of the strengths and limitations of faith-based health promotion in Scotland, which in turn could inform health promotion practice and policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-36
Number of pages10
JournalGlobal Health Promotion
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012



  • capacity building
  • collaboration
  • partnership
  • community
  • faith groups
  • Scotland
  • health promotion
  • religious groups

Cite this