health care

National Measures

One common way that national viability is measured is through gross national product, or GDP -- the market value of all officially recognized final goods and services produced within a country in a year, or other given period of time. In the United States, as of 2011, health spending in this country was at 18 percent of GDP, or about $2.6 trillion per year. The estimated annual health care costs of obesity-related illnesses such as hypertension, Type II diabetes and arthritis are a staggering $190.2 billion, or nearly 21% of annual medical spending. Hardly stats worth bragging about. Still, the debate on health coverage in the country rages on, leaving us fractured, polarized and still overweight. As the federal government works to find solutions, even within the framework of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the church is beginning to coalesce around a simple truth: that we can collectively drive down medical costs -- even if it takes a generation -- by becoming better stewards of our health.

"The things God calls us to do as believers require a stewardship-type outlook of the body," says PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña. "If you’re a believer who finds himself or herself unknowingly hiding behind the truth that God only sees the heart — with all due respect — a willful neglect of the body is a heart issue."

Enter the soon-to-be released PrayFit Diet by Jimmy Peña, which goes beyond its own detailed meal plans and macronutrient counts and digs into the biblical motivations -- and mandates -- for taking better care of "the bodies that carry the soul."

This message, which has been well-received in churches across the country since the advent of PrayFit in 2009, has made its way to Washington. Congressman Aaron Schock, who has received plenty of attention for his personal dedication to healthy living, had this to say about The PrayFit Diet:

"Jimmy Peña’s The PrayFit Diet provides the moral case for why every human being should be living with food discipline -- for their benefit and for the glory of God."

Schock put his belief in personal responsibility into legislative language with HR 2649, which would have provided a tax reimbursement for qualified physical activity, "in order to incentivize more Americans to take better care of themselves," he said on his website.

This is precisely where Schock's philosophy dovetails with Peña’s.

"God equipped us for a unique purpose and to accomplish it, He gave us these bodies," Peña says. "What an awesome honor to be responsible for their care."

While the costs of health care continue to spiral out of control, we can rest easy knowing that we are not powerless in this fight. Can faith fight obesity and other related health maladies? We believe it can. And like Rep. Schock says, it's for our benefit...but His glory.

Final Prayfit Diet CoverThe PrayFit Diet, is not only inspired by biblical principles, but it’s also supported by today’s cutting-edge science, and Peña gives you a plan to shed weight fast and the motivation to keep it off for a lifetime. By combining perfectly proportioned meals with biblically based motivation, The PrayFit Diet will give you all the tools you need to live a life that will both inspire you and honor the Lord. The PrayFit Diet is available for pre-order everywhere books are sold.

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Creator, Curator

"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." --Ephesians 2:10

Read: Ephesians 2

God is a lot of things. To be more precise, He is everything. But certain of His attributes are more salient to us at different times. Today, you cling to His grace. Last week, you were grateful for the comfort of His word. But we are also sometimes just plain taken with His workmanship -- the artful, purpose-driven brushstrokes that He has made on everything we see. Masterpieces, all, to be sure. But what do you think is the pièce de résistance in His divine gallery? An expansive cosmos? Brimming oceans?

The world of art is a fickle one, where value is determined by discriminate buyers. The smallest imperfection can turn a multimillion dollar print into kindling -- colorful canvas that no one would want to hang in their foyer.

Similarly, we are all a part of our Father's collection, each of us besmudged by our own sin. But the same hands that created us are the same that maintain us. Day to day, we are touched up, reframed, resituated. In this gallery, the Creator is also the Curator and in His hall, we are never devalued.

--Eric Velazquez

For Discussion: Do you train regularly? If so, what is your true aim? How much time do you spend in the mirror evaluating the fruits of your labor? One of the "smudges" we all share is the desire to take credit. So let's try to remember Whose image we're supposed to reflect and whose handiwork we're really evaluating in the first place.


THE ULTIMATE HEALTH CARE SOLUTION New ABC report sheds some light on what really is the best medicine

"Millions of people in our society suffer from a ridiculous number of health problems -- some major, some minor that could become major -- because they lack basic fitness," writes Jordan Metzl, MD, in his new book The Exercise Cure. And it's not just making us fat and lazy -- it's also bankrupting the nation. "Based on current estimates, the United States spends more than $2.6 trillion -- 17 percent of the gross national product -- on health care. That's $8,300 per person," he adds.

Can we be doing more to solve the health care crisis in America?

>> For the full story, 9 Health Problems That You Can Treat with Exercise, click here.


July 8, 2011Read: Hebrews 12

"Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith." --Hebrews 12:1-2

If you've ever been to a firing range, you've likely seen overzealous newbies eyeballing their targets at a distance with every shot. But gifted marksmen will tell you that before releasing a shot, they're not looking at their target -- they're looking at their sights. The sights allow shooters to line up for an accurate shot. After identifying the ring that they want to hit on the paper silhouette, their focus comes back to the sights. The target literally blurs in the distance as they steady their aim and check their breathing. Distractions fade in a long, slow exhale -- the shooters in the adjacent lanes are suddenly mute. Then, the deafening report of the weapon and a perfectly placed shot in the 10-ring -- center mass, they say.

None of us is worthy of Heaven -- not by a long shot. And even though it is our aim, we'd be well served to take our eyes off what lies down range and return them to our sight picture -- the calming image of the Savior that steadies our aim and keeps us on target, no matter what's going on around us.



While most people choose to focus on carbohydrates in their weight loss programs, it's important not to lose sight of protein intake. Protein, which comes in at only 4 calories per gram, is helpful in shedding unwanted pounds. Research has shown that high-protein diets are great for enhancing satiety, elevating metabolism, building muscle and burning fat. The good news is that the type of protein you choose to build your diet around may not matter all that much. A new study conducted by scientists at Laval University in Canada seems to indicate that both plant- and animal-based proteins are equally effective at aiding in weight loss.

>> Get the full story from NutraIngredients by clicking here.

FAT FACT: The World Health Organization estimates that by 2015, there will be more than 1.5 billion overweight consumers, incurring health costs beyond $117 billion per year in the U.S. alone.

PRAYFIT GEAR: Looking for ways to advertise your commitment to faith and fitness? Newly-upgraded PrayFit tees for guys and girls are now available at the PrayFit store. While you're there, take advantage of our new color options for hats, pick up a book or take advantage of our freshly-discounted summer items.


June 2, 2011Read: Matthew 9 "She said to herself, "'If I can just touch the hem of his garment, I will be whole.'" --Matthew 9:21

If you've spent any time here on PrayFit, you've realized by now that we love America's pastime. We agree with Babe Ruth when he said, "Baseball is the greatest game God ever saw fit to let man invent."  And after watching some good ball this weekend, we found another reason to love it even more. Ever notice that the managers wear the same uniform as the players? Think about it. There's not another sport like it. Ever see a football coach with a helmet? Or a basketball coach wearing a tank-top and shorts? No, baseball is the only sport where its managers blend in with the team.

I think Jesus could relate, because he chose to relate. Rather than standout among us, he blended in with us. Though He created the universe, His appearance was universal. He became our up-close-and-personal savior. In order to reach us, He let us touch Him.



While the debate over government-mandated health care has come to a slow simmer on Capitol Hill, we are all left to ponder one very important question: What can we do as individuals?

With an estimated $147 billion spent in the U.S. annually on obesity-related health issues, the first thing we can do is to collectively drop a few pounds. One study found that the average overweight patient saved $380 per year in medical care by sticking to a weight loss program consisting of exercise and proper nutrition. This can be for a number of reasons. Weight loss for overweight or obese individuals can...

--lower blood pressure --lower bad cholesterol --improve energy --improve mood --reduce joint pain --improve heart health --extend life expectancy --reduce risk of adult-onset diabetes

Improvement in your heart, joints and overall well-being is worth a nightly walk and a few less visits to the drive-thru. Perhaps our national health care situation would be better served by us simply being more committed to our national health?

>> SHARE: Do you think we can impact the cost of health care by taking better care of our bodies? Have you ever been denied coverage because of your weight? Has a doctor ever assigned you to a weight loss program? Share your experiences in the comments section below.