Grantee Blog

Movement is Life: Race and Gender Disparities in Active Living

The Vicious Cycle is a product of Movement is Life.

By Whitney Buchmann

Did you know being 10 pounds overweight increases the force on the knees by 30-60 pounds with each step? And that African American women are 40% more likely to be obese and 30% more likely to die from heart disease? These were just two statistics prominently displayed at the Movement is Life: A Catalyst for Change 2018 National Caucus.

Most people understand that limited mobility and lack of physical activity can lead to

A group of physicians, who specialize in musculoskeletal health, also acknowledge the social inequities that contribute to increased likelihood of these poor health outcomes for women of color. This group of healthcare professionals formed Movement is Life in order to do something about it. In her welcome letter to those gathered at this year’s caucus, Mary I. O’Connor, MD wrote:

“This past year we have “expanded” the Vicious Cycle to illustrate the impact of social determinants of health and health care policy on the health of individuals. Movement remains the key to breaking the vicious cycle but the ability of an individual to move in their daily life is dominated by social determinants.”

As part of the 2018 National Caucus, Movement is Life invited Maritza Gomez and myself to participate on a panel titled “Ya’ll Making Me Sick: How Your Zip Code Influences Your Health.” During this conversation, Maritza shared how Camden Coalition’s Faith in Prevention Program is targeting faith-based organizations that serve Camden’s primarily African American and Latino communities.

We recognize how much our cultures influence our food choices and social experiences. Through the 6-week curriculum, which includes opportunities to exercise and healthy cooking demonstrations, social groups support one another on journeys to more active lifestyles. Additionally, we know the obstacles to healthy lifestyle are not all cultural, but systematic divestment in communities of color. This is why we also provide a stipend to the faith-based organizations to identify policy and environmental changes within their congregation to create conditions conducive to healthy lifestyles.

In this season, as we recruiting faith-based organizations to participate in Faith in Prevention through the support of NJ Partnership for Healthy Kids, we have faced challenges setting a start time due to health emergencies among congregation leadership and the upcoming holidays. I wanted to take this opportunity to remind everyone that winter months can add a layer of obstacle to movement when it is tempting to spend hours curled up under blankets eating Thanksgiving leftovers. Let the time with family encourage you to wake up for that Turkey Trot or Santa Run so that you can chase babies around the dinner table next year! We hope to see you in the spring at I Walk Camden as we encourage a culture of health that changes our community’s outcomes.

Faith in Prevention is an ongoing program that allows faith-based organizations serving Camden residents to participate in a 6-week curriculum and earn a stipend to implement policy and environmental changes. We have a rolling acceptance for organizations that apply for the program. Applications for year 5 are open now and priority entry into the program will be given to organizations that apply early.

About the Grantee

Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers

Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers is a non-profit coalition of Camden healthcare providers, community partners, and advocates, committed to elevating the health of patients facing the most complex medical and social challenges. We share a vision of a transformed healthcare system that ensures every individual receives whole-person care rooted in authentic healing relationships.