CHICAGO (Ivanhoe Newswire/WTVM) - What if you could lead a healthier lifestyle by incorporating the lessons learned in what many have called the ultimate guide to self-improvement?
That's what one federally funded study is aiming for, looking at how faith, knowledge and action are leading to better health.
Thanks to a National Institutes of Health study known as "ALIVE!" Reverend Darryl Jenkins, ALIVE! Pastor Partner at Faith Community Church in Chicago, says God's word is being used to renew the body.
Working with medical professionals at Rush University, the program takes lessons from the bible to teach people how to live a healthy lifestyle. It 's a partnership with community pastors.
Reverend Jenkins says, "Living in a way that I believe God intended for his people to live and to maintain the bodies as temples in which the Holy Spirit dwells."
According to two passages in the bible, Daniel fasted twice, cutting out wine and other rich foods.
"That resulting in Daniel being stronger and being able to see farther than people who were eating the rich foods of the king," Elizabeth Lynch, PhD, Principal Investigator at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago explains.
While participants don't have to fast, they are encouraged to eat three cups of veggies every day and trade out soda for water.
"It's really giving people motivation and strength from within a belief system that they already adhere to," Lynch says.
One extra serving of vegetables a day can slash heart disease by five percent.
Anne Farrell, ALIVE! study participant says, "It forced me to think about how I was going to incorporate more vegetables in tasty ways that would appeal to me."
Those simple tweaks led to dramatic changes.
Michael Johnson, ALIVE! study participant says, "I knew that I was doing the right thing for the right reasons because it was faith based; it was Biblical centered."
Johnson has not put back on the 42 pounds he lost. Now the congregation's rejoicing!
The National Institutes of Health helped fund the study with a $1.2 million grant. More than 200 churchgoers participated over a nine month period.