Area church getting healthy

Published 1:12 am Saturday, January 19, 2008

NATCHEZ — The body is God’s temple.

This is a concept that Harvest Baptist Church in Ferriday will be focusing on today in their “Healthy Living Seminar 2008” from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The church’s congregation has been invited and the event is open to the public.

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The event is being hosted by Heart Ministry 2008, a committee within the church.

The committee is under the leadership of Yolanda Chandler, church member and nurse practitioner.

Chandler said many topics will be covered during the seminar by several speakers.

“We want to discuss with those who are interested in how to change their lifestyles and how to live healthier with food and intake and exercise,” Chandler said.

The seminar plans first to break down food labels for interpretation.

“We want our individuals to start purchasing items according to food labels,” Chandler said.

Other topics to be discussed include calories and how many it takes to gain a pound, metabolism and obesity and the complications and economic ramifications of those diseases.

Ideal body weights will be discussed and also body mass index.

Also, there will be a session where an example of a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner will be cooked.

“At that time we’re going to compare fat calories and fats,” Chandler said.

Finally, exercise and stress reduction will be discussed.

There will also be a weigh-in that correlates with a year-long challenge the church has put on called “The Harvest Baptist Church 5,000 Pound Weight Loss Challenge.”

The 5,000 pounds derives from the calculations of a church member who hoped that the challenge could get 200 members to lose 25 pounds each.

From a religious and health standpoint, taking care of the body is an important practice, Chandler said.

She said the church is following a scripture for the encouragement of a healthy lifestyle.

The scripture verse 3 John 1:2 states “Beloved I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”

Charles Chandler, pastor of Harvest Baptist Church, said in order to minister to others, we must minister to ourselves first.

“It’s an attempt to be healthier, which will allow us to live better lives, as well as spiritually, to allow us to do things better,” Charles Chandler said.

Kim Jolla, who is involved with Heart Ministry 2008 and a registered nurse, said it is important to tend to your body just as you tend to your soul.

“I feel like just like we nurture and feed our souls, we should also nurture our bodies,” Jolla said. “I think that it’s important that we spread that throughout our community.”

From purely a health standpoint, Yolanda Chandler said she sees problems that arise from obesity very frequently.

“As a nurse practitioner, I treat patients in the clinic all the time and I see so many complications from obesity,” she said.

Jolla said health issues are prevalent in the community and need to be addressed.

“It’s important because there are a lot of health issues in our community that affect each of us on a personal level,” Jolla said.

Yolanda and Charles Chandler, as well as Jolla said this is just the beginning of a stream of health-centered events that will be taking place this year.

The first event that focused on health, however, took place last year; a health fair in the spring.

Yolanda Chandler said there were around 100 participants at the health fair. During this event, participants were lectured on diabetes and hypertension.

“Those are two predominant complications due mainly to our eating habits and sedentary lifestyles,” Yolanda Chandler said.

At the fair, there were also presentations on strokes, stroke prevention, anxiety, depression and damage to the eyes due to uncontrolled diabetes, she said.

“We had a wonderful response,” Yolanda Chandler said.

As a result from the response and the necessity to educate the community on these health issues, she said, the church decided to keep on with these health-related events.

“We’re starting to broaden our horizons and this was something we really needed to address, so we’re pursuing this challenge to lose weight and eat healthier,” Yolanda Chandler said.

She listed many events that are scheduled on the 2008 calendar in regards to such things as cancer survivors, National Men’s Health Week, National Women’s Health Week, sexually transmitted diseases and programs to teach children good hygiene.

Jolla said this is just the beginning of a very health-oriented year.

“We’re pretty much kicking off the new year,” Jolla said. Each month we’re going to try to stay in line with national health observances months.”

Charles Chandler said he hopes participation for today will reach large numbers, but if not, he has hope that they will continue to grow in the future.

“It’s an on going effort,” Charles Chandler said. “This is the beginning of ministering to the body.”