Rob Killen's picture

Ah - church picnics! Everyone enjoys the food and fellowship. Rick Warren's book The Purpose Driven Church talks about growing a healthy church. Now it's time to talk about the "purpose driven church picnic". With some intentional planning and enthusiasm from church leadership, you can create breakfasts, picnics, dinners and more that align with recommended guidelines, define your church wellness strategy and improve the overall health and fitness of your members and community.

If your church could help your congregation and local citizens loose weight to be healthier and live better would you do it? It is not only possible it is more practical than you realize. Here is a strategy to introduce and maintain five key approaches to weight loss.

If you and your church are going to win the weight loss battle then you need to know what keep us from losing those extra pounds.

The good news is that the United States is no longer the most obese nation in the world. The bad news is America is second behind only Mexico.  The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization conducted a study in 2013, which showed that Mexico leads the world with a 32.8 percent adult obesity rate, followed by the U.S. at 31.8 percent.  Approximately 30% more people in the U.S. are considered overweight, resulting in nearly 2/3 of the total U.S. population that need to lose weight on some level.

To make matters worse, researchers found a link between obesity and church attendance. Northwestern University analyzed data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study, which followed over 2,400 adults between the ages of 20 to 32 for 18 years. They found that people who went to church or church activities at least once a week were more than twice as likely as people with no religious involvement to become obese. Despite this glaring statistic, other studies have shown that people who participate in regular religious involvement overall tend to live longer, are happier, have less stress, and lower rates of smoking and alcohol use.          

Want ideas for your church that you can implement now? 

Look for sections marked STRATEGIES FOR YOUR CHURCH  throughout this article. 

We know more about health, exercise and nutrition than any other time in history, yet we have so many Americans who are overweight. We know the general guidelines to successfully losing weight: exercise more, reduce caloric intake, avoid junk food, eat plenty of fresh vegetables, eat less processed foods, etc. Yet, behavior patterns are often difficult to change. Technology has made it far easier for us to become a sedentary society. Automated machines result less physical labor for workers today. Video games, social media and widespread Internet use keep us sitting.

If you and your church are going to win the weight loss battle then you need to examine some common behaviors that hinder weight loss efforts and keep us from losing those extra pounds. Improve upon these five areas and you, your congregation and your broader community can increase the success of your weight loss program.



About the Author

  • Rob Killen's picture
    Rob Killen is the Church Fitness Department Editor for Faith & Fitness Magazine, and a 27 year fitness industry veteran. Rob received his Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Wayland Baptist University, and his Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management from George Mason University. Rob regularly consults with health clubs, and has a passion for helping churches looking to develop fitness ministries. For any assistance in planning or growing your church fitness ministry, Rob can be reached directly through .

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