"Black Girls Run" to change a cultural epidemic - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

"Black Girls Run" to change a cultural epidemic

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

More than 35 percent of American adults are obese, and according to the Center for Disease Control, most of them are African American. 

A group of runners in the Chattahoochee Valley says they are doing all they can to change that—one stride at a time.

Patrice Riley is part of a national group running to make a statement about black women. These women say they are not running for vanity, but for their lives.

Riley says, "The CDC states that 80 percent of African American women are obese or overweight."

Compared to other groups, African American women have the highest rates of being overweight or obese.

"It's a movement to encourage other African American women to get moving," Riley explains.

The Black Girls Run crusade started in Atlanta five years ago. Today, the movement has spread across the country, gaining thousands of members.

Riley and her friend, WaKenia Leonard, are ambassadors for the Columbus chapter.

"Getting out there, doing something, educating yourself on what to eat, how to eat, how to take care of your body… We deal with obesity. We deal with heart disease... diabetes," explains Leonard.

The group also deals with excuses.

"That fear," says Riley. "A lot of people think of run, and they believe they can't do it."

Both women say that although they are experienced runners, you don't have to be one to join. All you have to do is lace your running or walking shoes up, and give it a try.

"Just come," Leonard invites. "It's making that first step of doing something different. If you want a different result, you're going to do something different. So, just make up in your mind to do something different. When you take that first step… The next step, the next step, and then you're running!"

The group meets every Sunday, and joining is completely free. Visit the Black Girls Run! Columbus Chapter on Facebook for more information.

Copyright 2013 WTVM via CNN. All rights reserved.

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