Hernando, MS (WMC-TV) - First Lady Michelle Obama will be in Mississippi Wednesday to meet with local leaders to address the growing problem of childhood obesity. Pastor Michael Minor of Oak Hill Baptist Church in Hernando will be part of the group she meets with.
Minor isn't sure how he captured the First Lady's attention, but he thinks it might be because he practices what he preaches.
"We're eating ourselves to death," Minor said. "I see all the time someone's died, 27, 30 years-old, diabetes."
The Harvard graduate heads the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi's "Healthy Congregations" board. He says his message about health and wellness has reached hundreds of Mississippi Churches. Apparently word spread all the way to the White House.
Minor says his message isn't always popular with pastors.
"The line that really resonates, is I always say over and over again, your sick member can't give. I know it sounds kind of crass, but it makes sense."
As you can see Minor doesn't mince words.
"I've seen children that are 10,11,12 years-old weigh a couple hundred pounds, that's huge," Minor said. "Quote unquote, 'they're just big bones', no, they're fat. If you don't catch that they get type two diabetes."
Minor started getting concerned about the health of his congregation about a decade ago when he noticed many suffered from health problems as a result of their diets. He started serving healthier food at church events, and created a "walking track" around the church.
Well, the track is actually looks a lot like a parking lot. But to church members it is a track, where five laps equal a mile.
While there isn't a verse in the Bible that says "eat your vegetables", Minor says being healthy is a Biblical concept.
"You're a steward of this temple, your body."
Mississippi's Obesity rate is the highest in the nation, Tennessee's is the third highest, and Arkansas's is the 9th highest.
Action News 5 will be in Jackson, Mississippi Wednesday to cover Michelle Obama's meeting about childhood obesity.
Look for reports from Action News 5's Jamel Major March 2, beginning at 5 o'clock. We will also post details on our website, WMCTV.com.