Gym Works To Tackle Obesity Rate In Minority Population - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Gym Works To Tackle Obesity Rate In Minority Population

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By Janet Kim

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Each year, losing weight tops the list for promises in the New Year. As we know many tend to break those new year's resolutions, but some members at one Antioch gym are making weight loss their life's mission.

Before most have had their morning cup of Joe, these women step into the Inferno for an entirely different kind of Joe. They come for fitness trainer Jo Williams. 

Like its name may suggest, Inferno Fitness of Nashville is no place consumed with uncontrollable fire, but rather it poses as a sanctuary for some.

"When you are working out with people that you know, it makes the struggle so much easier for you," said Shavonne Westerfield, a participant at Inferno Fitness of Nashville.

The struggle is the one to lose pounds and the excess weight many vow to lose in the New Year.

"You never quite know what somebody is dealing with, and there could be a lot of pain behind the smile, and there's a lot of pain when you're heavy," said Sarah Lee, who is working to lose weight.

But for the women you will meet here, this is more than a resolution but a fight to save their lives.

"If I continued the path I would be on, then I would probably be in a coffin and that's just the truth," said Williams.

Williams runs Inferno Fitness of Nashville. Once nearly 400 pounds herself, she had a vision.

"I wanted to bring top notch service to lower income families and lower income men and women, single mothers, people who want to be fit and just don't know how and be able to afford it at the same time," said Williams.

With the obesity rate in Tennessee last reported around 31 percent, and obesity rates for African Americans are hovering around 40 percent. Williams and others are targeting the minority population, trying to change one life at a time.

"My dad died at the age of 44," said Westerfield. "Regardless of all of those things and all the emotions that I feel, he's proud of me and this is something that he would want for me."

Non-profit organizations like Black Girls Run are also aiming to tackle the obesity epidemic in the African-American communities.

The group's Nashville chapter meets three days a week for their running sessions.


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