And they’re off. The competition to get healthy is underway. On Jan. 15, Village HeartBEAT kicked off its fifth season with nearly 30 churches signed up to take part in this year’s 10-month wellness program.
The faith-based program, which is run by the Mecklenburg County Health Department, seeks to reduce health factors associated with heart disease and diabetes in African American and Latino communities, and it has been picked to compete in a national challenge that could net the program up to $500,000.
Village HeartB.E.A.T (Building Education and Accountability Together) works with local churches to encourage exercise, proper nutrition, smoking cessations and overall health management. The churches compete, with 10-member teams, in categories including weight loss and overall participation.
The program lasts for 10 months, which includes a 16-week exercise and weight-loss competition period. Although the 16-week competition emphasizes weight loss — congregations in 2016 lost a combined 393.06 pounds — the teams also compete in other health-related areas, such as blood pressure reduction, exercise participation, and journaling.
At the end of each year’s competition, awards are given to individuals and churches that record the greatest progress in various health categories.
Also this year, Village HeartBEAT will compete in the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge — a partnership between the Aetna Foundation, the American Public Health Association and the National Association of Counties.
Each organization participating in the challenge will be visited by a panel of judges. Those that show the most measurable progress will be eligible for cash awards of $25,000 to $500,000.
Keep up with the competition; follow Village HeartBEAT: