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Building a Healthy Temple

Program helps combat obesity and obesity-related issues through focus on faith and health

Dr. Meizi He

A recent grant of $250,000 from the Baptist Health Foundation is helping provide a healthier future for San Antonio church goers. The funding supported research by UTSA’s Dr. Meizi He, and the implementation of a wellness intervention program—Building a Healthy Temple.

An associate professor of health and kinesiology, Dr. He started the program in 2013 to help combat obesity and obesity-related issues in the local community. Partnering with local churches and integrating faith and health, the program promotes good nutrition, physical activity and maintaining healthy body weight.

“With the right tools, we can make a lasting difference in people’s lives,” says Dr. He.

Pastors at participating churches are incorporating healthy messages into sermons and bible study and encouraging healthy meals and physical activities at regular church events. With continued nutritional and spiritual guidance from the Building a Healthy Temple curriculum, local pastors are seeing transformations among their congregations.

“One of the pastors cried when he talked about the impact the program has on him and his congregation. This program is truly amazing,” shares Brittany Pratt, an assistant director of development at UTSA involved with the Baptist Health partnership.

Dr. He plans to expand the reach of the program to hundreds of local churches. And as the number of participating churches and communities continues to increase, so does the impact of Building a Healthy Temple.

“I cannot express how grateful I am to Baptist Health Foundation for providing us with the support to expand Building a Healthy Temple into the areas that need it most,” she says.

To learn more about Building a Healthy Temple, email Brittany Pratt at brittany.pratt@utsa.edu.


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