The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan Calls On The Entire Black Nation To: Exercise To Stay Alive!

[Editor’s note: The following article was first published in The Final Call newspaper, Vol. 10, No. 17, from August 19, 1991, as the third installation of a special five-part series on health penned by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. Below is the first part of the third installment.]

In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.

We live on a planet that is alive and full of energy. If we are to live long, healthy lives, we must eat food that gives us energy to keep us moving against the FORCE OF GRAVITY. Gravity is a force that inclines all things on the Earth to the Earth.

Regardless of your age, be careful that you do something in terms of exercise to resist the force of gravity. You come up out of the Earth. The force of gravity is created by the motion of the Earth and is pulling on us.


In order to prevent it from pulling us into an early grave, we must have sufficient energy to resist it. We must eat the right food and we must do some exercise. (Important: Before beginning any exercise program, you should consult your physician.)

Get up and exercise

Depending upon how we eat and live, past the age of 30, we may find the skin beginning to fall down; we begin to sag in places where we were once firm. We used to be beautiful in these areas, but gravity is pulling on us. You may say, “I need a face-lift.”

No! You just need to put some weights in your hands and begin working with yourself. You do not need a face-lift, a tummy tuck, or any kind of cosmetic surgery. You need to get up out of the bed and off of the couch and exercise. Work with yourself!

I am writing this series because as a people we have become a Nation that is obese (fat). Many of my young brothers and sisters, as well as older brothers and sisters, cannot walk by a fast-food restaurant without stopping for some “grease.”

In my younger days, a slang word for eating was “greasing” because what we ate was more grease than proper substance. When asked “What did you eat today?” many of us reply, “A double cheeseburger, fried chicken, french fries.” But it actually was “grease.”

You love fried foods and you are killing yourselves eating this grease. It begins to line your veins and arteries so that your blood has no free passage to and from your heart.

Of Black women between the ages of 20 to 74, 44 percent are overweight, compared with only 23 percent of White females in the same category, according to Health United States 1990, published by the Department of Health and Human Services.

This condition has led to skyrocketing death rates in our community from heart disease and stroke, cancer, diabetes, and cirrhosis of the liver.

Learn the art of cooking

You do not know how to eat to live, and you, dear sisters, are preparing death for your families because you are unwilling to learn the art and science of cooking.

You do not like to spend time shopping, so you buy the chemically prepared foods that someone has already prepared in their kitchen that you have never seen. When you and your family consume it, it remains in the colon, hardening into a stone-like lump.

You are eating this greasy food and refusing to exercise. Then, fat begins to accumulate, by degrees. One day you are thin. Then another day, someone says, “You’re putting on a little weight,” and you smile, but do nothing. Then, after a while, you begin to bulge here and there.

Your stomach starts at the upper abdomen, one roll, two rolls, three rolls and more. You have two, three, four chins; jowls begin to develop. Finally, your body is choling with fat and garbage. Look in your full-length mirror at what you have done to yourselves. Imagine what the Divine Spirit is feeling within you trying to live in a house of garbage.

To my dear brothers and sisters who are reverends and spiritual leaders of our people:

For the past few years, I have been meeting in various cities of America with many of our pastors. Over the past two years, I have hosted dinners in the home of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad for nearly 2,000 members of the clergy and professional class of our people.

We are, as a class (clergy and professionals), entirely too fat. Most of our ministers have big, extended stomachs and are dying entirely too young. Every pastor should be an example of Christ-like living.

What would you think of Jesus if you saw him in his holy robes, overweight, with a stomach that made him look eight months pregnant, fat jowls and a fat neck?

MGN Online

Jesus not a fat man

Jesus has never been portrayed on the Hollywood screen as a fat man. Why? Because those who read the Scriptures cannot envision Jesus as a fat person. He came to give life and to extend our lives beyond the threescore and ten written of in the Book of Psalms.

Dear Pastors and Leaders, I appeal to you: Go to work on this overweight condition and let us become healthy representatives of God. If we are fat and sloppy, then we are encouraging our followers and our people to be the same.

Will you join me in the War against Obesity (Fat)? Let us strive to eat the best of food, in the right amount, that we may have a healthy, Christ-like glow. We can do it if we try.

The home taught us that Allah (God) hates obesity. So we should love what Allah (God) loves, and hate what He hates. We should look at our excess fat and say, “I am going to get this garbage off of me. I am going to work on it TODAY.”

As a Minister of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, whenever I gained a few pounds, when he saw me he would take his thumb and signal me to go back the other way (meaning to lose the weight), but when the Honorable Elijah Muhammad departed from among us, I broke my discipline.

For 20 long years, I ate one meal a day. I fasted three days out of each month. I was so disciplined, I fasted sometimes 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 14, 30, 40 days and I never weighed more than my weight as a senior in high school. I reached my 40s looking like I was in my 20s.

However, whenever we deviate from what Allah (God) has ordered, we have to pay a price for it. We cannot eat all day long and not pay a price for it. We cannot eat the wrong foods and not pay a price for it. We cannot neglect proper exercise and not pay a price for it. Every time we make a mistake with food, we are bringing death to ourselves at a quicker pace.

This fat around our mid-sections is literally death and that is how we start breaking—around the mid-section.

To be continued.