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CHLA, Church Team Up For Community Health And Wellness

COMPTON ( — Children's Hospital Los Angeles and a South L.A. church celebrated the one-year anniversary of their community fitness program.

The event was highlighted by a celebrity in boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard, who said the cause is near and dear to him: "When it's all said and done, it's your health that counts."

"I've been a fighter for over 40 years. And now I'm making a different impact in life outside the ring,"  the six-time World Champion and Olympic gold medalist said.

"Kids don't get out enough, they don't play around as much, they don't do simple things," said Leonard, whose foundation has joined CHLA and New Mount Calvary Church for a pilot program aimed at health education.

"The bible teaches us that, that our body is a temple of the holy spirit. So we teach those concepts here in the church," Pastor Sonja Dawson said.

In the past, the partnership has put on a program called Kids N Fitness, a healthy eating and exercise program for children between eight and 16 years old who are struggling with their weight. They've also organized Camp HEAL, which pairs Kids N Fitness with bible study and vegan and unprocessed food.

Kendall Wallace, 8, attended Camp HEAL this summer: "I learned how to eat have to eat fruits and vegetables...if you have a cheesecake or something, you could share with somebody."

"The kids would go home and teach their parents how to read labels. They become the food police of the house," Dawson said.

CHLA hopes to bring this program to dozens of other churches in the area.

"As many as 30 percent of children and adolescents are considered obese and 40 percent of African-Americans," said Megan Lipton-Inga of CHLA.

"This is one fight we can and we will win," Leonard said.

For more information on Kids N Fitness click here.


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