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‘Sisters’ Conquer Health Challenges

By Titus Falodun Staff Writer | 7/26/2013, 2:58 p.m.
Sweat dripping down, feet hitting pavement, and smiles all around, as empowered black women shed calories and health stigmas.
The Center for Black Women’s Wellness, Inc. fuses health and fellowship, as a means for improving overall quality of life. (Photo by Arthur Ratliff Photography).

ATLANTA— Sweat dripping down, feet hitting pavement, and smiles all around, as empowered black women shed calories and health stigmas.

The Center for Black Women’s Wellness, Inc., celebrating its 25th year, is encouraging healthier lifestyles through its “Commit to Be Fit” initiative at Stone Mountain Park.

“We’ve always focused on holistic health,” said Keri McDonald Pridgeon, vice president at the CBWW. “We focus on mind, body, and spirit. And we have a variety of programs that address those things.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention, 54.2 percent of black women over age 20 were obese between 2007 and 2010. During that same period, 44.4 percent suffered from hypertension.

“Commit to Be Fit” is the CBWW’s answer to these findings.

The initiative had a spontaneous beginning, after Pridgeon and her colleagues realized their own inconsistencies in exercising.

 “We tried different things,” Pridgeon explained. “We tried to do workouts during lunchtime. We tried to do a little something after work. And nothing really has stuck, until this.”

Recently, a 3-kilometer hike at Stone Mountain Park posed a physical challenge, but participants didn’t shy away from it. The hike brought out a vast array of people, which included staff, family, friends, and strangers. And all showed their willingness to maintaining good health.

“I’m sending out an email blast tomorrow (saying) that I’m coming back in the morning,” said Ronda Johnson, a Fulton County School employee. “They might be a little apprehensive but I’m excited.”

Adelaide Grant of Atlanta shared in Johnson’s enthusiasm.

“We definitely need to make this a way of life,” she said. “I’ve been exercising every day and I’ve seen the difference. I’m definitely encouraging my sisters to come out.”

The entire CBWW staff is stoked about the possibilities for attracting more women to the “Commit to Be Fit” program, staging the group hikes on a regular basis and gradually increasing the distance traversed.

“It’s about pushing [and] challenging yourself,” Pridgeon said, as she smiled and wiped the satisfactory sweat from her forehead.  

To join the women as they make their way up Stone Mountain on Saturday August 10, please visit: http://www.cbww.org or contact Keri Pridgeon at 404-688-9202 ext. 124