A Weight-Loss Challenge for a New You: A Message from the President & CEO Linda Johnson Rice

Article excerpt

It's no secret. We all know that excessive weight (mad the serious problems it can cause) is one of the most intractable issues in our community. In fact, African-Americans represent one of the largest percentages of people affected by more than a few extra pounds. And it's getting worse, to the point that Dr. Nelson Adams, president of the National Medical Association, describes the situation as "an epidemic."

Recent statistics indicate that 58 percent of African-American men and 68 percent of African-American women are overweight, primarily due to overeating and lack of exercise. In addition, 21 percent of Black men and 38 percent of Black women are considered to be obese.

Losing weight is one of the most difficult things for most people to do because it requires determination, dedication and an unwavering can-do attitude. Each of us has our own stories regarding battles with weight--either we need to lose a few pounds ourselves, or we know someone who does. That's why in our annual Health & Fitness section this month we devote the entire presentation to excessive weight--how you can lose it, why you should lose it and the importance of beginning to lose it now.

In an effort to further highlight the problem and motivate people to begin to live healthier lives by dropping a few pounds, we asked Dr. Ian Smith, author, TV personality and thunder of "The 50 Million Pound Challenge," to create and monitor an "EBONY/Jet Weight-Loss Challenge," which focuses on the lives of five families who are struggling to lose some unwanted pounds. As part of the project, Smith personally visited each participant's home, assessed their weight situation and customized a weight-loss plan for each individual. …