The FitPro Solution to the Dying Church

By:  CarolAnn, M.S., CPT, CN

According to the National Center of Health Statistics of the CDC, the prevalence of obesity among U.S. adults is 39.8%.  Even more interesting, the church community may be a breeding ground for this epidemic with statistics suggesting that the church today may indeed be in worse condition than the general population. A 2006 Purdue study found that the fundamental Christians are by far the heaviest of all religious groups led by the Baptists with a 30% obesity rate.  In addition, a 2011 Northwestern University study tracking 2,433 men and women for 18 years found that young adults who attend church or a bible study once a week are 50% more likely to be obese. 

Now, it is not suggested to stop attending church or participating in the religious community to reduce the risk of obesity.  But what IS being addressed is that historically, few churches have addressed the obesity issue or have even seen it as a problem.  The church or faith-based community frequently addresses issues such as greed or guilt, but seldom focuses on gluttony.  Yet, we as health and fitness enthusiasts have come to experience how we feel physically almost always impacts the spiritual life in a positive way.

This is a huge opportunity for the health and fitness professional to help an audience that is thirsty for expert guidance and instruction that takes place in a safe environment and speaks their language.  In fact, The American Council on Exercise (ACE) listed faith-based exercise in their “Top 10 Trends in 2016” as fitness programs become more mainstream in churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples.  We still have a journey ahead of us, and the need for fitness ministry is stronger than ever.  You, the fitness professional, are being sought to help rescue the out-of-shape church community.

Top 3 Reasons Why Churches are Positioned for the FitPro Solution:

  1. Community: “Community” has developed into one of the main driving forces for the success of a wellness/fitness program. Faith-based communities are gathering places where people come together based on shared values and beliefs.  In fact, 77% of all adult Americans identify with a religious faith.  Having this already in-tact community makes it very easy for the health & fitness professional to speak to or target an already existing audience.  If an individual is a member of a faith-based community, he/she is already a member of a community that can provide emotional, mental, spiritual and physical growth. As people improve their faith and their fitness, families and communities become stronger.
  2. Facilities:  Churches typically already have the resources in place.  For example, many churches have kitchens in which nutrition or healthy eating workshops can take place.  Also, many churches have large spaces in which to hold exercise classes.  Not to mention, they may already have a sound system in place.  Churches are always looking for additional ways they can serve their community with the open space time they have during the week. 
  3. Expert Needed: Many church individuals feel intimidated to attend a gym or fitness facility, therefore making it likely that he/she is a beginner exerciser.  Therefore, many church goers are inexperienced at even the basic exercises and need a professional who knows how to implement progression.  Teaching this audience is very different from teaching at a commercial gym or community center.  This audience deserves foundational education to improve adherence and to reduce their fear of exercise.  You, as the fitness professional, will also benefit from the rewarding experiential feeling that you receive from truly helping those in need of improving their health and fitness.

Current research suggests continued promise in effective and sustainable obesity prevention through faith organizations.  Inspire your church community to truly honor their bodies as the temple and help make a positive impact on the growing obesity crisis within it.

*Sources provided by request.

To find out more about how you can expand your career by implementing a plug-n-play health and fitness ministry, join CarolAnn at the next SCW MANIA®.    Also, visit to get more information on how you can become a Chiseled Faith Coach and begin your health and fitness ministry now.


CarolAnn, M.S., the creator of Chiseled Faith®, is a 25-year industry veteran holding positions such as program director, studio owner, educator, presenter, and author.  She has developed programs for organizations such as FiTOUR, Hydracize, MedFit Network, and PT Global.  Along with producing and starring in several fitness videos, she is a health and fitness expert contributor for publications such as Livestrong, PFP, and New Tampa Style Magazine.  She is currently on the Health Advisory Board for MedFit Network.  She has been selected to be a 2019-2021 National Fitness Hall of Fame Fitness Superstar.


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