Background: Counseling to effect lasting change in health behaviors has proven only moderately effective. The Torah, or Five Books of Moses, conveys many of the key messages regularly promulgated by prevention professionals. The promise of synergy with the behavioral messages of preventive medicine among devout Scripture-based adherents led to the development of a SCripture Oriented Preventive Education (SCOPE) tool. Methods: Forty-eight SCOPE articles were written to complement the weekly Torah portion read throughout the year in Orthodox Jewish synagogues. These were disseminated via newsletter within a modern Orthodox Jewish community in Israel. Two articles are included. An age-stratified, 25% random sample (120/471) of community readership was surveyed to ascertain receptivity to SCOPE and to gauge support for future implementation. Results: Response rate was 76% (92/120). Lifestyle behavior-related articles were most popular (77% found them interesting) and injury prevention the least (41%). Knowledge gained was the most common benefit reported (55% of respondents), followed by attitude change (24%). Those aged 30 to 49 years were significantly more likely than others to report behavior change (p=0.002) and health improvement (p=0.005) secondary to SCOPE. Clinical prevention (p=0.007) and environmental health (p=0.03) articles were significantly more popular in people aged ≥30 and 30 to 49, respectively. Between 69% and 84% supported the implementation of SCOPE in secondary schools, by physicians, and/or rabbis. Conclusions: SCOPE was designed to deliver prevention materials to faith communities via a Scripture-based vehicle. A postexposure readership survey in an Israeli Orthodox Jewish community demonstrated its effectiveness. SCOPE's ultimate utility as a counseling adjunct in Scripture-adherent communities awaits broader assessment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health