Grand Rapids ‘Body & Soul’ health challenge wraps up with segment on WZZM

Grand Rapids ‘Body & Soul’ health challenge wraps up with segment on WZZM

Back in May, 15 African-American churches in the Grand Rapids area began participating in this year’s Body & Soul and Blues Community Challenge. Recently we had the pleasure of listening in at WZZM-TV while they taped the winners of this year’s Body & Soul challenge.

Sponsored by the American Cancer Society and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Body & Soul and Blues Community Challenge enlists African-American churches to help empower their members to take personal responsibility for their health. African-Americans have the highest mortality rate in the United States for all cancers combined, and they have high incidence rates of heart disease.

The challenge awards the congregation that tallies the largest amount of miles walked with grant money — and bragging rights — for their health ministry.

In Grand Rapids, there are 18 churches in the Body & Soul program, with 15 of them participating in this year’s challenge. Parishioners ranging from seniors to children logged the miles they walked online, and winners were determined by both miles walked and attendance at health classes and other events.

The challenge ran for 12 weeks, which most participants agreed was just a starting point to motivate them to stay fit. The top three churches in each category received $1,250 for first place, $750 for second and $500 for third place. The breakdown was as follows:

Small Churches:
1st – Davis Memorial Church of God in Christ
2nd – Earnest Prayer Ministries
3rd – New Life Tabernacle Church of God in Christ

Medium Churches:
1st – St. Luke AME Zion
2nd – Grace for the Nations

Large Churches:
1st – True Light Baptist Church
2nd – Messiah Baptist Church
3rd – Brown Hutcherson Ministries

Winners of the Detroit-area Body & Soul and Blues Community Challenge were determined in August and recognized at the Man Up! For Better Health event held earlier this month on Belle Isle. That competition saw three Hispanic churches become eligible for the 2013 challenge.

The Flint version of Body & Soul kicks off next spring.

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