Faith and fitness are two areas of my life that I always try to find ways to share and help others improve. Whether it is through this blog or with the running group, I want others to realize that these two aspects of our life are intertwined more than many often appreciate.
I have been writing this blog for almost 6 months but I am always struggling to find topics to write about. Several months ago I was bothered by a video (click on the image) I saw during a presentation at work and thought others would find it as disturbing as I had. The video from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows how the US population has become more obese each year since 1985. In 2010, over 1/3 of the population was defined as obese and the trend is not only continuing, but some experts suggest it is accelerating.
When I first saw this video clip I thought I’d write about the benefits of running, the serious health consequences of being overweight, and how I believe the internet, social media, television and the lack of physical activity are all factors. This was until I read a recent article titled “The obesity epidemic in America’s churches”.
Christianity = Obesity?
The fact that Americans are getting bigger wasn’t a shock to me and probably isn’t to you. However, some of the following information from the article was very sad since I have found faith and fitness to be synergistic in my life.
- 2006 Purdue study found that the fundamental Christians are by far the heaviest of all religious groups led by the Baptists with a 30% obesity rate compared with Jews at 1%, Buddhists and Hindus at 0.7%.
- 2011 Northwestern University study tracking 3,433 men and women for 18 years found that young adults who attend church or a bible study once a week are 50% more likely to be obese.
- 2001 Pulpit and Pew study of 2,500 clergy found that 76% were overweight or obese compare to 61% of the general population at the time of the study.
About 7 years ago I was 50 lbs heavier and despite logging many miles, my weight is something I still watch closely. I know firsthand that losing weight is very challenging but like faith, requires discipline and constant vigilance. However, I hope that no one who is reading this believes, “that the spirit is sacred and the physical body is corrupt and inconsequential” as the article mentions. Rather I pray we all refer to scripture which reminds us “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
I am blessed that my church and many others in the Doylestown area have been supportive of Doylestown Christian Runners. However I know there is more that we can all do. We need to encourage others to get out more and make healthy food choices. It would be helpful to try to have some healthy snacks between services rather than “donuts, bagels and cream cheese, and coffee with cream and sugar” as the article points out. The bottom-line is that we should be more intentional each day, each hour, and at each meal of spreading God’s love rather than our waistlines!
God Bless and Keep Running,