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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Weight and exercise top health concerns

A recent elective survey found that unhealthy weight and cholesterol and blood pressure levels are the top medical-risk factors facing ELCA pastors, lay and rostered leaders, seminarians, and their families.

Nearly 4,500 leaders and their families completed a Mayo Clinic health risk assessment at www.elcaforwellness.org sponsored by the Board of Pensions and Division for Ministry.

The study found that among church leaders, the four most prevalent lifestyle risk factors included insufficient exercise (65 percent), high intake of dietary fat (56 percent), eating too few fruits and vegetables (52 percent) and stress (32 percent).

"One of the pleasant surprises is that people indicated a readiness to change around some of those precise areas," says Ron Glusenkamp of the pension board. He says the board plans to initiate a 2005 project based on the results of the assessment to help leaders commit to healthy lifestyle choices.

Those who completed the assessment received the Mayo Clinic Guide to Self-Care beginning in mid-March.

The survey will be offered again next year for leaders who missed the opportunity to participate.


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