Researchers from the University of Michigan have designed a nationwide program, named 'body and soul' by teaming with the African American churches to extend its reach, and disseminate vital information about health and wellness.
Through the program, researchers will enable educational materials to church leaders and resources to spread the importance of physical activity and healthy diet, consisting of fruits and vegetables.
Natasha Blakeney Wilson, a minority outreach coordinator at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Body & Soul program said "As the church's spiritual and organizational leader, the pastor's support of the program is vital. From there, it trickles down through church functions and events. If you can surround the congregation with healthy choices at these events, it shows how simple it is to make eating more fruits and vegetables part of their daily lives."
To practice what it preaches, the churches have begun offering fresh fruit instead of coffee and doughnuts, as a post-service bite. A healthy diet and active lifestyle will be the only way to bring about a decline in diseases such as high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer, researchers said.
The National Cancer Institute has advised that consumption of five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day is the best protection against diseases.