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AmyJo Mattheis: Focus should be on a balanced, healthy life

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Posted: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 12:00 pm

The News-Sentinel asked: As America continues to suffer from an obesity epidemic, many houses of worship, including some in Lodi, have put together exercise programs or weight-loss groups. Is physical health an important part of spiritual well-being? What role, if any, should religious or community leaders play in helping people stay healthy?

You and I will take the time and exert the effort to achieve healthy bodies when we think we are worth it.

Too often religion sends the message that what really matters is the state of our soul rather than the health and well-being of our bodies. For women it is even more difficult: there is a prohibition against women looking too good, being sexy or too focused on their abs and glutes rather than their husband and kids. Religion routinely puts women in the role of caretaker and nurturer, doing everything for everyone first, putting themselves last because that is where women receive their value and worth.

All of this needs to change. Women, men, boys and girls ought to exercise and watch what they eat because they value their own good selves and want to be creative and productive, living a long, full life. As long as the churches don’t pile another expectation of “you have to” weigh this much or look this way for God to approve, then the exercise and balanced life message is a good one.

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