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Healthy Church Challenge puts focus on area congregations

When you think of church, you most often think about being moved by the Holy Spirit, but what about moving your feet?

by Wiley Henry
Special to the Tri-State Defender

When you think of church, you most often think about being moved by the Holy Spirit, but what about moving your feet?

With the launch of the “The Healthy Church Challenge,” congregations across West Tennessee will be on the move to lose weight, improve their health and compete for prizes.

The 100-day weight loss competition, presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, is the health insurer’s first health challenge focused on churches.

“We want to reach Tennesseans where they’re at – whether at work, at school or in their church,” said Calvin Anderson, senior vice president and chief of staff at BlueCross. “What better of an atmosphere than a spiritual community to support a person’s goal to get healthy?”

Organizers of the event are still recruiting teams from area churches to participate. The kick-off is Saturday (March 10) at Southwest Tennessee Community College, 737 Union Ave., in the Vertie Sails Gymnasium. The Healthy Church Challenge is open to all churches in West Tennessee and limited to 100 participants per church.

 Dr. Patrick Malone

In several studies, Memphis and Shelby County have ranked in the bottom 10 percent as it relates to healthy eating, exercise and healthy living. With those statistics, exercise and healthy lifestyles are a must for our residents.

According to Dr. Patrick Malone, an internist at Health Loop, an outpatient facility of the Regional Medical Center at Memphis, “The health benefits of exercising are numerous. For an overall sense of well-being, exercising helps to keep your weight down and it’s good for circulation, the heart, lungs, joints and arthritis. It keeps you alert and awake.”

For those struggling with obesity or suffering from chronic illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes, Dr. Malone said prescribed medication is not enough to reduce the effects of such chronic illnesses. “You can’t do it with medication alone,” he added.

During the 100-day Challenge, numerous activities will be offered to support and encourage the competition.

Donna Richardson Joyner, an internationally renowned fitness expert, will participate in the Challenge as an inspirational motivator and coach. She will be in Memphis March 24 to work out with participants.

The Healthy Church Challenge finale will take place June 17 at the Juneteenth Freedom and Heritage Festival in Douglass Park.

The church that wins the competition will receive a $5,000 gift certificate to a sporting goods store and nutritional counseling to benefit the church and its members. The person losing the most amount of weight will receive a $500 gift certificate to a sporting goods store.

Along with BlueCross, the “Challenge” is sponsored by Baptist Memorial Health Care, News Channel 3, Hallelujah 95.7 FM, The New Tri-State Defender, and the Juneteenth Freedom and Heritage Festival.

For more information, call 901-278-0881 or visit Facebook.com/TheHealthyChurchChallenge.



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