Insight News

Feb 13th

Members of area churches fight urban obesity epidemic

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communitybiggestlosercontestWhen Marcia Pruitt set out to create a church program that could help her rally support for her own healthier living and weight loss goals, she found a whole new mission.

"I was out in the community trying to collect information on making healthy lifestyle changes and weight loss for the St. Albans COGIC Biggest Loser Church Challenge participants and started to notice a disturbing theme," said Pruitt.

"Researching the statistics on obesity and the complications and the diseases thought to be associated with it, I found urban communities of color are disproportionately impacted. In fact, I found that Black females had the highest incidence of obesity. I'm an African-American woman."

Pruitt said she felt compelled to do something.

"I starting making calls to area churches and came across Juliet Mitchell of Camphor United Methodist Church, in St. Paul and Loretta Bush at Mount Olivet Baptist Church, both of whom are actively promoting healthy lifestyle changes and disease prevention along the same lines in their own churches," said Pruitt. "I was able to attend a 'Go Red' meeting at Mount Olivet and learned a lot about heart disease prevention and detection in women. Obesity was mentioned as a factor in heart disease as well."

The Go Red campaign is a program started by the American Heart Association to promote awareness of heart decease in women.

"I was very much inspired by these two women who have been in the trenches fighting to promote the health of their community. I am now working to extend this fight beyond my church walls as well," said Pruitt.

In doing so, she has organized a kickoff meeting for the new Community Biggest Loser Challenge, which will be held Saturday, Apr. 6, at the Mount Olivet Church, 451 West Central Avenue, St. Paul. Each participant pays a $20 fee to join.

Pruitt said all money from entry fees goes directly to the prize pot which will help to set the top prize, which could top $600.

Unlike some office versions of this challenge, there will also be second and third prize winners.

For more information on the challenge, visit

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