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More DeKalb County Churches Opening Exercise Facilities to the Public

DECATUR, Ga. – Seven churches have begun offering fitness activities and open gym times to the public through agreements with the DeKalb County Board of Health.

The “shared use agreements” enable the congregations to share their programs and facilities with the public. They give residents opportunities to maintain active, healthy lifestyles at little or no cost. Community members can participate in activities such as Zumba classes, basketball programs, indoor soccer and weight training.  In addition, each location is hosting monthly health-related educational sessions. The Board of Health provides funding to support these efforts.

“These partnerships are yet another great way for us to make being active easier for our residents,” said DeKalb County District Health Director S. Elizabeth Ford, M.D., M.B.A.   

The churches are:

  • The Beulah Community Family Life Center,
    2340 Clifton Springs Rd., Decatur, Ga. 30034
  • The Bridge at Austin Community Center,
    1989 Austin Dr., Decatur, Ga. 30032
  • Kirkwood Edgewood Healthy Living Initiative at Greater Smith Chapel AME Church,
    183 Mayson Ave., Atlanta, Ga. 30307
  • Kirkwood Edgewood Healthy Living Initiative at Turner Monumental AME Church,
    66 Howard St. NE, Atlanta, Ga. 30317
  • Mt. Zion AME Church,
    2977 Lavista Rd., Decatur, Ga. 30033
  • Saint Philip Community Development Corporation,
    240 Candler Rd. SE, Atlanta, Ga. 30317
  • Stronghold Christian Church,
    724 Rock Chapel Rd., Lithonia, Ga. 30058

For information on the activities offered at each location, call 404-508-7847 or visit

Shared use agreements are a strategy of the Local Efforts towards Addressing Disparities DeKalb initiative, known as LEAD DeKalb.  The initiative is funded by a Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

LEAD DeKalb’s goal is to reduce the levels of poor nutrition and chronic disease and to increase the level of physical activity among county residents.

According to the 2019 County Health Rankings, 26 percent of DeKalb County adults are obese. These individuals are at greater risk for serious conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, than those with a healthy weight.  Good nutrition and adequate physical activity can reduce the risk of chronic disease.

During the 2014-2018 phase of the REACH grant, more than 80 percent of the individuals who used a shared use facility reported a higher level of physical activity due to having access to the facility.

For more information on the Board of Health’s REACH initiatives, contact the Board of Health’s Office of Chronic Disease Prevention at 404-508-7847 or email