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National Weight-Loss Effort Targets Black Community

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The Washington Post on Saturday examined the 50 Million Pound Challenge, which seeks to reduce obesity and encourage healthy lifestyles in the black community. Two of every three men, four out of five women and one in five children in the black community are overweight, according to the challenge's Web site.

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Fitness expert and physician Ian Smith said he began the program last year to provide a "national platform" for healthier living among blacks (Thomas-Lester, Washington Post, 10/4). Smith said that the campaign's challenge for 50 million pounds of weight loss can be met if 25% of the 20 million blacks in the U.S. who are considered overweight or obese each lost 10 pounds (Kaiser Health Disparities Report, 4/5/07). More than 690,000 people across the nation have joined the challenge since April 2007, and almost three million pounds have been lost.

Smith said, "What we are trying to do is not only to get people to lose weight, but to get them to take a better look at the choices that are directly impacting their physical and spiritual health." He added, "Poor lifestyle choices and cultural entrenchments have, unfortunately, made African-Americans extremely vulnerable to a wide range of diseases that are in many cases life-threatening" (Washington Post, 10/4).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.