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Challenge Tops 1,040,000 lbs, National Tour Makes 14th Stop in New Orleans for Bayou Classic

Celebrity Fit Club expert/best-selling author Dr. Ian Smith brings free national weight-loss initiative to Big Easy; Urges residents to give up pounds at annual football classic, Greater St. Stephens Full Gospel Baptist


NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Dr. Ian Smith's 50 Million Pound Challenge is coming to New Orleans to rally people to take control of their health and give up the pounds to fight the epidemic of excess weight taking so many lives across the community. Backed by African-American leaders and sponsored by State Farm(R), the free weight-loss initiative is making the 14th stop of its national kickoff tour to help Big Easy residents get fit and lose weight to save lives. One of the most far-reaching efforts of its kind, The Challenge is an historic campaign by the African-American community that in just over 7 months has taken on 263,311 participants and taken off 1,041,208 pounds.

Dr. Ian is bringing The Challenge to New Orleans on Thanksgiving weekend to meet with people at the annual State Farm Bayou Classic(R) football game and the Sunday service at Greater St. Stephens Full Gospel Baptist Church.

Saturday, November 24 -- Bayou Classic

-- The Challenge will be present for the Fan Fest extravaganza at the

Superdome before and during the Bayou Classic, giving attendees a

chance to learn more and sign up to join the campaign in person. Dr.

Ian will participate in the game's opening ceremonies.

Sunday, November 25 -- Greater St Stephens Full Gospel Baptist Church

-- Dr. Ian speaks to the congregation of Greater St. Stephens Full Gospel

Baptist Church at the 9 and 11:15 a.m. services, and The Challenge team

will be present to answer questions throughout the day. People who

register ( prior to the

visit and bring a printed copy of their registration confirmation email

will receive a free Challenge t-shirt and be eligible to win an iPhone.

"Too many people are dying too young, too early from preventable weight-related illnesses," said Dr. Ian Smith, best-selling author and diet expert on VH1's Celebrity Fit Club. "We're coming to New Orleans to help fight an epidemic of excess weight that concerns all Americans, especially the African-American community where lives are being cut five years shorter than the U.S. average. The good news is people are responding to our call to 'give up the pounds, not the fight.' We set a goal to lose a million pounds by the Nov. 24 Bayou Classic -- and passed the milestone with two weeks to spare! In just seven months, more than a quarter million people have signed up to take off the pounds and take control of their health. And we've only just begun.

"There are a million reasons to lose the weight," said Dr. Ian. "Reaching our first million pounds shows we can. We gained the weight together; we can lose it together. We can reverse these deadly trends in weight-related illnesses and help millions lead healthier, happier and longer lives. Take the Challenge. It's free. It's fun. The reward is worth the weight-it can save your life, and you'll look and feel great!"

The Challenge highlights the findings of a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine which showed that close friends and family set a powerful example for each other -- they tend to gain, but can also to lose weight together. The national initiative aims to reach its 50 million pound goal by making it easier for millions to team up and lose weight to fight the epidemic of weight-related health issues threatening half of all Americans and fully 2/3rds of U.S. adults. The African-American community has been especially hard hit: 80% of women and 67% of men face higher risk from illnesses related to diet and inactivity, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.

To lead the fight back, The Challenge is supported by individual community leaders and national civic and health organizations, including the American Diabetes Association, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Inc., 100 Black Men of America Inc., the National Urban League, the American Council on Exercise and the Institute for the Advancement of Multicultural and Minority Medicine.

Signing up for The Challenge is easy. Anyone can join at, an online community and go-to resource that tallies the total pounds lost by everyone taking The Challenge. Free tips and tools make it easier to get fit and reach your healthy weight-there's even a private personal weight tracker to help measure your progress. Free Challenge kits have a CD and brochure from Dr. Ian, menu and fitness advice and a pedometer to count steps.

About Dr. Ian Smith

Dr. Ian is a diet expert on VH1's Celebrity Fit Club and author of the NY Times #1 best-sellers Fat Smash Diet and Extreme Fat Smash Diet, and other works of fiction and non-fiction. He hosts his own TV and radio shows, BET's Meet the Faith and HealthWatch on American Urban Radio Network. Dr. Ian is a contributor to The View and Men's Health Magazine. He has filed reports and written for NBC Nightly News, Today Show, Essence, Ebony, People, Cosmopolitan and University of Chicago's Medicine on the Midway. He is a new dad and lives with his family in Chicago.

About State Farm

State Farm(R) insures more cars than any other insurer in North America and is the leading U.S. home insurer. State Farm's 17,000 agents and 68,000 employees serve more than 75 million auto, fire, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and more than 1.7 million bank accounts. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 31 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit or in Canada

SOURCE 50 Million Pound Challenge
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