Body & Soul Wellness Challenge Fuses Good Health With Faith

Denise Turman

This guest post is from Denise Turman, director of Medical Affairs for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

The health care industry spends billions of dollars a year on obesity-related health care costs. As a medical professional, I understand the financial benefit of improving people’s overall health. More importantly, there is a substantial improvement in quality of life. Being active makes you feel good mentally and physically.

Places of worship provide a great venue for educating and motivating people to pursue physical and spiritual harmony. Our church, Second Baptist Church of Detroit, championed the cause for better health a couple of years ago with American Cancer Society’s Body & Soul program, a wellness and nutrition initiative targeting African-American faith-based communities.

Health For Body and Spirit

Last year, Rev. Kevin Turman (my husband) called on our congregation to honor our bodies with physical activity and exercise. And we did.

Our congregation had 96 active participants who logged nearly 13,000 miles in the Blues’ Community Challenge.

“Financial health, mental health and physical health all play an important role in a member’s well being and therefore the church’s well being,” Turman said. “Nothing helps our physical health better than walking frequently and eating healthy. This program is saving lives!”

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan introduced its Blues’ Community Challenge to the Body & Soul program in the Detroit area in 2011. It was the perfect way to add some friendly competition and motivate my church family to become more physically active. Simple things like increasing daily activity and eating more fruits and vegetables are holistic and meaningful ways to respect our bodies as God’s temple.

Churches Step Up Statewide 

There are 15 churches participating in this year’s metro Detroit Body & Soul and Blues’ Community Challenge, which starts this week. Eighteen churches in Grand Rapids are also ramping up for the challenge, and the Flint churches start in August. Nurturing good health pays reverence to the almighty and benefits the greater good.

Second Baptist Church of Detroit is an older congregation, so initially I was afraid I would not get many people to participate in last year’s challenge. I was quite surprised by the large number of participants who registered and logged their walking miles.

We also try to have monthly presentations on health topics and every fifth Wednesday we have our Body, Soul and Spirit evening, where we present a health topic followed by a healthy meal.

Last year was a lot of fun, and all of the 2011 participating churches benefitted from improved health and shared goals. We look forward to this year’s competition!

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