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Why Your Church Needs a Dr. Oz

Fitness programs like the one launched at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church rightfully teach us that exercise and healthy eating are not spiritually 'neutral.'

Where do you exercise? Your basement? Your backyard? Your gym? Your church?

Browsing the list of weekly programs offered at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, fitness classes and weight-loss support groups are now listed alongside baptism and leadership training classes.

Warren made headlines last month when he announced his New Year's resolution: to lose a whopping 90 pounds in 2011. Warren is certainly not alone in his goal: Every January, millions of people pledge to lose weight, get in shape, and eat healthier, and evangelical Christians have long used Christ-based fitness programs, like Gwen Shamblin's The Weigh Down Diet and Jordan Rubin's The Maker's Diet, in their personal routines.

What make Warren's announcement headline-worthy was the significant commitment of his church's time and resources to pursuing health and fitness, in the form of what he calls "the Daniel Plan: God's Prescription for Your Health." Developed specifically for Saddleback by Dr. Daniel Amen, Dr. Mark Hyman, and Dr. Mehmet Oz (Oprah's health guru), the Daniel Plan, Warren says, is a "healthy lifestyle program including a six-week small group study, an online profile you will create on this Website that will help you track your progress, monthly Webcasts with me interviewing leading health experts, an optional healthy choice menu, and new outdoor fitness equipment set-up on the Lake Forest campus."

When Rick Warren decides to do something public, it becomes a big deal. Over 6,000 people attended the kick-off ...

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