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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9) -- A new documentary aims to reach the heart and souls of everyone from the pulpit to the congregation.

It is often that fast-food and take-out establishments get a bad rap for serving artery clogging foods, now there is another place of focus for healthy eating.

Heart health in religious communities is thetheme ofa new video called "BeforeYou Eat The Church Food... Watch This Video". It is narrated by WUSA9's Bruce Johnson, who is aheartattack survivor. The documentary is published by the Association of Black Cardiologists.

Annapolis cardiologist,Dr. Barbara Hutchinson of Chesapeake Cardiac Care says, "The whole purpose of the documentary was to really make the church accountable not just for the spiritual needs of its members, but to also help them with the physical needs."

African-Americans are 50 times more likely than whites to die from heart disease, and the typical soul food diet doesn't help... being loaded with salt, sugar, white starches and fat.

A diet, that is often served during church functions. As often as several times a week.

Dr. Hutchinson says, "Well, let's look at the favorites that are usually served. It's the fried chicken, it's the greens with some form of meat in it, it may be the ham-hocks, it's that macaroni and cheese. Not that these are bad foods, but I think what we are looking at here is the way the food is prepared."

"Heart disease is the leading cause of death in African-Americans, and all the morbidity and mortality that's associated with that are at the top of the list," adds Dr. Hutchinson.

The new documentary aims to influence house of worships of all faiths to lead the way towards health conscious lifestyles for their members.

Dr. Hutchinson says, "We are at church very often, sometimes 3 times a day. If we can impact the choices that they have there at the church, we'd go a long way in helping change the statistics."

"Before You Eat The Church Food, Watch This Video" now airs onMPT Television in Maryland. Check your local listings for future programming.

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