Does Our Faith Make Us Fat?

“You say, “Everything is permitted.” But not everything is good for us. Again you say, “Everything is permitted.” But not everything builds us up.” -1 Corinthians 10:23

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.

Click on image (then scroll down) to see changes in the population animated from 1985 -2010

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 titledThe 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.

Glad to see fruit recently offered between services

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,


About rxnickrun

I am a Christian, Father of 4 wonderful children, Husband and Passionate Runner. I hope to help others experience that running can be a powerful approach to strengthen their Faith and improve their fitness.
This entry was posted in 1 Corinthians, Nutrition, Scripture Verses and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Does Our Faith Make Us Fat?

  1. elisariva says:

    Thank you for sharing such an important topic. All too often fellowship is associate with eating rather than activities together.

  2. jaynerich says:

    Love this post. It embraces a truism in my life, the fact that striving to attain physical fitness is one component of many on my spiritual journey. Great reminder that our bodies are God’s temple, and we are accountable for the misuse of it. Thanks for the “food for thought”!

  3. Rick this is so true! I was recently at a church baby shower and there were 3 tables of chocolate truffles, cookies, cakes and fountain. On the other side of the room was a small 3×3 table with one plate of veggies. So sad. Thanks for a wonderful reminder and maybe a new ministry to start at my church!

    • rxnickrun says:

      Go For It! You might be surprised at the interest level from those in your church.. as well as those in the surrounding area for a ministry that focuses on faith and fitness!

  4. How ironic, isn’t it? And no surprise. I admire how you held back all the snarky comments you could have made with this finding… 🙂 Seriously, this is disturbing and convicting. I can see an entire activist movement growing up around this topic. Great topic, Nick.

    • rxnickrun says:

      LOL! I am not as witty as you and knew I was on thin ice. However the “old…bigger” Nick would have poked fun at himself for sure! It truly is concerning and believe there is much we can all do! Hope you’re having a great summer!

  5. Sam Van Eman says:

    Nick, Brad from Shrinking the Camel sent me your way. Great post. I may be back to ask if we can highlight it in some way. Stay tuned.

  6. mdgoodyear says:

    My jaw is on the floor. I suppose it makes sense in a way. One of our primary rituals or sacraments is communion. Push communion too far and church potlucks turn into something more gluttonous. I do love those buckets of fried chicken at the church potlucks, though!

    • rxnickrun says:

      I can relate! I wish I could say I was disciplined enough to turn down good fried chicken or a slab of homemade chocolate cake. Unfortunately those choices usually outnumber the healthy ones. Thanks for comment!

  7. Great post! I wonder if the correlation is just because of food-centered church social gatherings or if there’s more to it? Fascinating food for thought. These studies show that we as Christians are in serious need of addressing our self-control (which just so happens to be a fruit of the Spirit).

    • rxnickrun says:

      Thanks Gina! It is interesting and a little disappointing but hopefully it will help all of us inspire others to take better care of our bodies and spirit.

  8. I truly love this article!

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