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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December 14, 2010Read: Psalm 139 "For you formed my inward parts." --Psalm 139:13

"My frame was not hidden from you." --Psalm 139:15

As a little boy, I spent many a summer day sweeping floors and washing cars at my dad's body shop. I felt right at home amidst the bondo dust and paint fumes, even though I could often be found asleep in dad's office. But while I didn't pursue the family business, little did I know that the body shop was a great place to learn about grace.

Each day, customers would come in to either pick up their cars or schedule a drop off, but then there were those who came in just for an estimate. They'd wrecked their car or truck, and all they wanted to know was whether their vehicle still had value. Sometimes dad would have to tell them it was totaled; their car wasn't worth anything. A total loss meant the insurance company wouldn't touch it, and they'd have to pay for it all by themselves.

We've all wrecked our lives in one way or another, but even a total loss is no match for the cross. What the world gives no value, He gives grace.


MALL FAT? Don't let holiday shopping  derail your healthy-living goals

"It’s the heart of the holiday shopping season: Malls are flooded, parking lots are jam-packed, and your inbox is overflowing with e-coupons," says Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, PrayFit's resident healthy-eating expert. "Whether you’re hitting up the food court or doing your shopping online, keep these tips in mind."


...munch on free samples. The calories can add up fast. hungry. Eat a sensible meal before you head out to the store or sit at the computer.

...swig liquid calories. Large sodas and full-fat peppermint lattes can have as many calories as a meal.

...go overboard on holiday goodies. Just because you can buy a 10-pound bar of chocolate shaped like a Christmas tree doesn’t mean that you should.


...resist the wafting smells from the pretzel and cookie stands. Save those calories for holiday parties.

...pack power snacks. Granola bars, fresh fruit, peanut butter crackers, and trail mix are good options.

...keep your mouth occupied. If you find yourself mindlessly snacking, chew sugarless gum or sip on a  calorie-free drink.

...wash your hands before you eat, especially after a day of shopping.

>> For more healthy holiday tips, visit Dana's Healthy Eats blog on the Food Network.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.