Racial Health Gaps Spurring Church-Led Fitness Classes


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By Rev. Dorothy S. Boulware, Word in Black

Faith communities are working to improve the health and well-being of their congregations by bringing exercise to houses of worship.

Churches are offering fitness classes like this to help bridge the racial health gap (Getty Images)

Everyone is weary of systemic racism in this country’s health system — the entire diatribe of diseases more common to Black people, aggravated by the lack of access and shortage of funds to acquire adequate health coverage.

No wonder Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows life expectancy for African Americans — 72.8 years — is more than a few years lower than the 77.5 years that non-Hispanic whites enjoy.

It’s yet another imbalance for African Americans, but that’s not the end of the story.

Houses of worship have stepped in to help improve the health and well-being of their congregations by offering varied opportunities for movement. 

“Uniting faith with fitness creates a powerful synergy, transforming not only the body but also the spirit, inspiring a journey of wellbeing,” the Rev. Jocelyn Hart Lovelace, presiding elder, Boston Hartford District of the New England Annual Conference of the AME Church, tells Word In Black.

At Allen Chapel AME in Hartford, Connecticut, members are offered step challenges, and they participate in walkathons. Some members fulfill their numbers by hitting area malls early in the mornings, according to the pastor, the Rev. Orsella Hughes.

Continue reading.

Learn more about racial health disparities in this Breaking News article.

Find even more Breaking News here.

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