Prince George's County churches competing in weight loss pilot program competition
What you drink and eat will make a difference for the people you are about to meet. They are about to embark on a 90-day journey toward better health. It is a contest and the teams come from a place you might not expect.
Henry Davis is a pastor who practices what he preaches.
"The Bible talks about mind, body as well as soul," he said.
He's crossed the finish line at the Baltimore Marathon. Now, he is thrilled his First Baptist Church of Highland Park in Landover will be part of a Prince George's County pilot program to help people get fit.
"We love competition," said Davis. "It just energizes people."
Three churches will compete in what is being called "The Biggest Winner."
Volunteers will privately weigh in each week.
It was prompted by a Northwestern University study that says young adults who go to church are more likely to become obese later. County officials say they are 50 percent more likely to become obese by middle age than those with no religious involvement.
At each church, 50 to 70 people will participate. People of all ages will receive a pedometer paid for by the county.
Shontta Boyd has been attending First Baptist since she was a kid. Now her children go too.
"You have those moments like, 'Oh my God, I need some Haagen-Dazs ice cream," said Boyd.
Amen! But another confession she told us is that she also loves vegetables.
"Spinach, greens, broccoli, carrots," she said.
But those old church dinners according to Pastor Davis were "heavy with starches, heavy with desserts, heavy with sweets."
"We plan on getting a gym membership and I've changed our diet plan," said Boyd.
Around 2,500 people pass through the church doors every weekend.
"Most people, if you ask them the question, ‘Do you want to be healthier?' Their answer would be yes, especially if you look in the African American community, when you look at diabetes, when you look at obesity, when you look at high blood pressure," said Pastor Davis.
If it works, The Biggest Winner could expand.
"I look at myself as the inspirer," said Davis.
As for those other churches, Boyd said, "Look out because we are here to win."