Exercising Power to Lead Healthier Lives - 740,000 Participants Cast Votes for 'Challenger of Year'

Thursday, December 11, 2008 General News
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CHICAGO, Dec. 10 Dr. Ian Smith's 50 Million PoundChallenge, the free national health initiative launched April 2007 to rallyAmericans to come together to 'Give up the pounds, not the fight,' is on trackto top the 3 million pounds lost milestone this month. To celebrate theprogress of so many individuals towards their weight-loss goals and motivatepeople to renew their commitment to improving their health, the campaign hasopened an online poll at 50millionpounds.com (http://www.50millionpounds.com/)so people can vote to honor the first Challenger of the Year. For inspiringothers to join the fight against the epidemic of excess weight taking so manyU.S. lives, the winner receives a $1,000 prize and one lucky voter also gets a$1,000 prize.

"Every American has the power to lead a healthier, happier life," saidphysician and founder Dr. Ian. "The Challenge helps people come together toexercise that power. This month we're marking a major milestone by askingpeople to again exercise their power to vote, to honor one of 12 finalists asthe Challenger of the Year, in recognition of their personal success as wellas inspiring more Americans to shed excess pounds and gain a healthier life.

"Surpassing 3 million pounds is an important shared success for TheChallenge. But even more important are the personal successes of each of TheChallenge's 740,000 participants striving for their individual weight-losstargets," said Dr. Ian, who is also diet expert on VH1's Celebrity Fit Cluband NY Times best-selling author of The Fat Smash Diet. "The personaltriumphs and success stories of our 12 finalists are truly remarkable.They've shown amazing commitment and have given and received sensationalsupport from their friends, families and Challenge team members. Like noother measure, these successes set the standard for The Challenge, and provethe power we each have to transform our lives. We can all find inspirationand resolution solutions to lead healthier lives in the New Year."

To discuss The Challenge, Challenger of the Year and how reaching themilestone saves lives, Dr. Ian hosted a press conference call Wednesday,December 10, where he also offered tips for how to avoid holiday weight-gainand encouraged people to utilize the myriad of free resources and join one of17,000 Challenge teams at 50millionpounds.com. He was joined by twoChallenger of the Year finalists, Craig Nash of Chicago and Lawana Williams ofSouthfield, Mich.

A study in the July 2007 New England Journal of Medicine(http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/357/4/370) found that teamwork iskey. It showed close friends and family set a powerful example for eachother-they tend to gain, but can also lose weight together. The Challengeaims to reach its goal by making it easier for millions to join together tofight the epidemic of excess weight and weight-related illness. Today morethan 135 million Americans and two-thirds of adults are overweight, with theobesity rate doubling in the last few decades. Each week, 10,000 die fromheart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and other illness related toinactivity and diet. African Americans are especially hard hit: 80% of womenand 67% of men face higher risk from weight-related illness, with lifeexpectancy five years below the U.S. average.

Anyone can join The Challenge at 50millionpounds.com(http://www.50millionpounds.com/), the campaign's online support community.The site tallies total pounds lost and offers participants free resourcesprovided by sponsor State Farm(R), including a 30-day diet plan, personalweight and activity trackers, and Challenge teams to make fitness easier andmore fun. Currently, more than 17,000 Challenge teams are helping 90,000members lose 20 percent more weight than the overall campaign average. It's awinning formula-and cities, churches, civic groups, friends and familiesacross America are teaming up to help reverse the epidemic of excess weightand turn it into a culture of healthier living.

For more information on the telephonic news conference, The Challenge andto get bios and photos, contact:

12 'Challenger of the Year' Finalist Success Stories -- Proving the Powerto Transform Lives

For more details on The 50 Million Pound Challenge, also visit50millionpounds.com (http://www.50millionpounds.com/).

About The 50 Million Pound Challenge:

Dr. Ian Smith's 50 Million Pound Challenge is a national health initiativeencouraging people to come together and take control of their health bygetting fit, losing excess weight and turning back the deadly toll ofweight-related diseases that threaten nearly half of Americans and hits theAfrican-American community especially hard. The Challenge, a free campaignsupported and endorsed in name and deed by national civic and healthorganizations, 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 NYTimes #1 best-sellers Fat Smash Diet and Extreme Fat Smash Diet, and otherworks of fiction and non-fiction. He hosts his own TV and radio shows, BET'sMeet the Faith and HealthWatch on American Urban Radio Network. Dr. Ian is acontributor to The View and Men's Health Magazine. He has filed reports andwritten for NBC Nightly News, Today Show, Essence, Ebony, People, Cosmopolitanand the University of Chicago's Medicine on the Midway.

About State Farm: State Farm insures more cars and homes than any otherinsurer in the U.S., is the leading insurer of watercraft and is also aleading insurer in Canada. State Farm's 17,000 agents and 68,000 employeesserve more than 78 million auto, fire, life and health policies in the UnitedStates and Canada, and more than 1.9 million bank accounts. State Farm MutualAutomobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family ofcompanies. State Farm is ranked No. 32 on the Fortune 500 list of largestcompanies. For more information, please visit statefarm.com(R) or in Canadastatefarm.ca(R).-- Pamela Avery, pam@turnerstrategies.com, 303-807-1797, or -- Mia Jazo-Harris, mia.jazo-harris.sfdx@statefarm.com, 309-766-5242 (o), 309-533-2011 (cell).

SOURCE 50 Million Pound Challenge

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