Metro-Detroit’s African American Churches Compete For Wellness Grants in Our Body & Soul BLUE Walking Challenge

The African American church has always provided spiritual leadership, guidance and motivation to the community. In the Detroit-area thirteen churches are taking a stand and walking their way to a healthier lifestyle by competing in the Body & Soul BLUE wellness challenge, sponsored by American Cancer Society and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Health disparities in the African American community are significant:

  • 40 percent of African American men in Michigan will not live past their 65th birthday.
  • African American women are more likely to die from heart disease than women of other races.
  • African Americans of both genders are much more likely to develop and die from cancer than any other racial or ethnic population.

Although the factors creating health disparities in this country are complex, walking is a safe and simple form of exercise that can improve your health, mood and level of fitness. Blue Cross walking advocate, Jodi Davis lost more than 160 pounds by adopting a healthy lifestyle that included a sensible diet and an exercise regimen consisting of a brisk, daily walk of 1.5 miles each day – and she has kept the weight off for nearly 10 years.

A walking exercise routine can help:

  • Lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol)
  • Raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol)
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce risk of or manage type 2 diabetes
  • Manage weight
  • Improve mood
  • Increase strength and fit

Source: The Mayo Clinic

With the U.S. spending more than ever on preventable health problems like those listed above, every step counts. Our Body & Soul BLUE challenge gives members of several metro-Detroit African American churches extra incentive to get moving by giving them grants to log the most walking miles of physical activity by the end of the 10-week period. Grant money is used to support health ministry efforts at the winning churches.

Personal Health Is Key to Community Health

The faith-based health and wellness challenge gives church leaders a chance to motivate their congregations to nurture their bodies, and their souls. A combination of pastoral leadership, educational activities, and the family environment of the church helps congregations make healthier nutrition and lifestyle choices.

Are you involved in a walking or exercise program? What kind of physical activity do you do to stay healthy and fit?

To learn more about the Body & Soul BLUE challenge, watch a video from last year’s challenge in Grand Rapids, Michigan below:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZVTtwpqXoA]

Photo Credit: Nick Harris 1

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