Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan kicked off it’s fourth annual Blues Community Challenge in partnership with the American Cancer Society’s Body & Soul program with 15 participating churches from the Grand Rapids area. They started their healthy journey at the ACS’s Making Strides Walk on May 4, 2013. The program runs for 12 weeks (May 4-July 27) and encourages members of the primarily African-American faith communities to adopt healthier lifestyles.
According to the ACS, African Americans are far more likely to develop and die from cancer than any other racial group. About 94,540 new cancer cases in African-American men and 82,080 new cancer cases in African-American women are predicted in 2013. As a result, the Body & Soul and the Blues’ Community Challenge program focuses on reducing these statistics by encouraging healthy eating and exercise through friendly competition.
The participating Body & Soul churches enrolled in the Blues’ Community Challenge get points for physical activity through a walking tracking tool throughout the competition. At the end of the competition BCBSM will award winning churches with financial grants to support their healthy ministry efforts.
Pastor Nathaniel Moody of Brown Hutcherson Ministries in Grand Rapids was part of the first Body & Soul and the Blues Community Challenge in 2006. His participation in the program encouraged him to become focused on both his health and ministry.
A culmination ceremony for the 2013 program will be held in conjunction with the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute Rhythm Run at Martin Luther King Park on Aug 17, 2013.
Learn more about the ACS Body & Soul program at Cancer.org/bodyandsoul.
Below is a video recap of the kick off event in downtown Grand Rapids: