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The 50 Million Pound Challenge Finds Its Stride as Cities Across the Country Hold the First Annual Challenge Walk Off on May 16
Date:4/14/2009

Mayors and Local Leaders Unite to Help Their Communities Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle

NEW YORK, April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- With more than one million people already a part of the online community at 50millionpounds.com, Dr. Ian Smith's 50 Million Pound Challenge, announced today that it has teamed up to hold health walks in fourteen communities across the nation. The walks will be held on May 16 and will bring people together in their own communities and in unity with others across the country to draw attention to the number one health issue facing America - obesity and illnesses that stem from being overweight, like diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and some forms of cancer. It will be an opportunity for people from all walks of life to join others and publicly support the national movement and take symbolic first steps toward a healthier lifestyle.

At the recent National Conference of Mayors, Dr. Ian encouraged the mayors to use The Challenge and its free resources as a platform for addressing the health concerns of their citizens. "Time and time again, we hear from our Challengers that community support is the key ingredient in their success," says Dr. Ian Smith, founder and creator of The 50 Million Pound Challenge and NY Times bestselling author of The 4 Day Diet. "With The Challenge Walk Off on May 16 we can bring entire communities together as part of our commitment to helping the entire country be more focused on personal physical well-being. I applaud the mayors of these fourteen inaugural cities for their leadership. No more simply talking about obesity we are finally going to do something about it."

Alexandria, VA, Mayor William Euille is putting his city on the Challenge, "A city that is physically fit and healthy contributes to the fiscal well being of the city. I want to lead by example." Williamsport, PA, Mayor Gabriel Campana is proud of his city's many assets, but says like many cities across the country, "We have issues of people that are at risk for heart disease, cancer and diabetes. By engaging in this program, we can educate the general public how proper diet and exercise can improve their quality of life."

Thousands are expected to join Dr. Ian, the Challenge, and their fellow citizens to take the first steps together in a life-long journey of wellness through the outdoor events that will happen simultaneously in each city on May 16. Local officials will coordinate the details in participating cities. Click on city names below to go to the individual city team pages for more information (pages will be updated as information becomes available).

Alexandria, VA

Alexandria, LA

Birmingham, AL

San Leandro, CA

Stratford, CT

Greenville, MS

Buffalo, NY

Garden City, KS

Las Vegas, NV

Morristown, TN

Niagara Falls, NY

Williamsport, PA

Houston, TX

Wilmington, DE

The 50 Million Pound Challenge is also inviting all other cities across the nation to join The Challenge Walk Off. Fellow citizens can sign up to host their own walks in their respective cities by logging onto 50MillionPounds.com. The first 50 teams with 50 team members who host a walk on May 16 will receive 50 free t-shirts branded with the 50 Million Pound Challenge logo and have their team's picture featured on the site.

Two-thirds of Americans are overweight, and for the first time ever, new reports show that there are more obese people in the country than there are those who are merely overweight. Studies show that in the weak economy many are trying to shed extra pounds without joining an organized plan and that when strapped for resources, personal wellness efforts can become a low priority. The Challenge enables people to follow their own diet and gives them free resources and tools to succeed.

Anyone can join The Challenge at 50millionpounds.com, the campaign's online support community. The site tallies total pounds lost and offers participants free resources including a 30-day diet plan, online journal, personal weight and activity trackers, and Challenge teams to make fitness easier and more fun. Currently, more than 30,000 Challenge teams--which anyone can join or start their own--are helping those on teams lose 23 percent more weight than the overall campaign average. It's a winning formula--and cities, churches, civic groups, friends and families across America are teaming up to help reverse the epidemic of excess weight and turn it into a culture of healthier living.

Already the site has helped more than a million people "Give up the pounds not the fight," and shed a collective 4 million pounds. For more information on The 50 Million Pound Challenge Walk-Off please visit 50MillionPounds.com. The 50 Million Pound Challenge is sponsored by State Farm.

About The 50 Million Pound Challenge

Dr. Ian Smith's 50 Million Pound Challenge is a call-to-action for all Americans to come together and help people take control of their health by getting fit, losing excess weight and turning back the deadly toll of weight-related diseases that threaten nearly half of Americans. The Challenge, a campaign supported and endorsed by leaders across the community and national civic and health organizations, is sponsored by State Farm.

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 4 Day Diet, 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 lives with his family in Chicago.

About State Farm

State Farm(R) insures more cars and homes than any other insurer in the U.S., is the leading insurer of watercraft and is also a leading insurer in Canada. State Farm's 17,000 agents and 67,000 employees serve over 77 million auto, fire, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and more than 1.9 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 statefarm.com(R) or in Canada statefarm.ca(R).


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SOURCE The 50 Million Pound Challenge
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