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Believers IMPACT Series: If God Is So Good Why Are Black People So Unhealthy?




I have been in ministry for some thirty-plus years. Like most African Americans, I was nurtured in the womb of the black religious experience. There is no other institution in black America that is so wedded to the notion of God than the black church.

Every Sunday, though, our pews and pulpits are lined with parishioners and preachers with rotund bellies and all of the aches and pains associated with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that occur together and often resulting in negative health outcomes. In the oldest tradition of call and response, we say “Amen!” to the word being preached; we declare “God is good all the time!” with loud voices. But in truth, although we are ‘saved’, we are not well. All of this in light of this depressing figure: 71.8 -- the average life span of African Americans according to the U.S Census Bureau.

God is good but we must get better!

Our Health

To put it bluntly: black people in America are sick; our collective health resembles that of a Third World nation. No need to cite statistics, but in every negative health category, we are at the top. In positive health outcomes, we are at the bottom. Black women have the highest rates of obesity in the Western world, followed by – you guessed it – black men. As a result, we are seized with higher rates of metabolic disorders, cancers and diabetes than any other ethnic group in America.

What’s even more shocking is our unhealthy lifestyles are beginning to trickle down to our children. Obesity’s next demographic are the great-great grandsons and daughters of slaves – who, by the way, in the aggregate, were much healthier than their modern day counterparts.

Many will say it's not just black America, it's America period that is sick. This is true. Obesity rates in America are among the highest in the industrialized world, according to the United Health Foundation. But, as someone much wiser than me said, when America sneezes, black America gets pneumonia.

If God is so good, why are we so unhealthy as a people? The simple answer to that question is lifestyle. The socio-political answer to that question, though, is we assume that, because God is so good, we don’t have to do anything – we don’t have to walk; we don’t have to move; we don't have to make healthy food choices; and we don't have to manage stress. Hence, we don’t have to do anything but trust God.

It’s bad theology and it has become a way of life.

How to Change

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? I Corinthians 3:16

Simple. Let's begin to treat our bodies as we really do believe we are God's property. Let's stop making excuses and get to moving. Start walking clubs in our communities. Make it a goal to engage in physical activity at least twenty minutes per day. Do exercises during commercials of your favorite television or cable program.

Also, we must begin to see ourselves holistically, as more than the compartmentalized versions of humans in Western society.

God is good but we must do better!

We must begin to take care of our body, our mind and our spirit. Self-care of our body, mind and spirit is a divine undertaking. It’s the real meaning of loving oneself because it connects us to a higher power.

A trip to the local gym, a vigorous twenty-five minute power walk and even a few moments in meditation to quiet the mind and reduce the mental stress are all things we can do TODAY to make a difference!

The one thing we absolutely cannot do is NOTHING. If our death rate from chronic disease continues at this pace, our race will be pathologically sick in a generation’s time. We can no longer exercise "when we have time" -- because to a man we don't have that much time!

It's about taking personal responsibility for our health. Yes, we face far greater obstacles than most when it comes to accessing health care in Americas and we must continue to advocate for change in that area. In the meantime, let’s change the way we eat. Let’s eliminate salt and sodium. Let’s stop drinking excessively. Let's get up and move!

Most of all, let’s recover that community ethos of good we had once upon a time when we were colored; when we spoke to each other when passing. That alone will go a long away to reversing the serious illnesses wreaking havoc in our communities.

God is good but we must do better!

Pastor W. Eric Croomes Ministries Faith Influencer. Executive Director: The Charley and Dorothy Croomes Foundation. Creator of the Watch Your Life Series. I speak about the excellency of His name in all the earth and how that transforms our reality. articleshashtag#wellnesshashtag#stronglifehashtag#lifestronghashtag#fitnesshashtag#empowermenthashtag#goallthewayuphashtag#bodymindspirit

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