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‘Fat City’ distinction aids Obesity Summit birth

The city of Memphis is comprised of 650,000 residents, one third of which are obese, which puts them at risk for chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and some cancers, according to the Gallop Well-Being Index.

These statistics helped birth the Healthy Church Challenge 100-day weight loss competition, which will culminate in an Obesity Summit on Saturday, June 1, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Breath of Life Christian Center, 3795 Frayser Raleigh Rd. The summit is free and open to the public.

The Obesity Summit is designed to educate participants, disseminate health information and encourage participants to eat better, exercise and live a healthy lifestyle.

"In light of Memphis' dubious distinction as a fat city, we hope those who are grappling with weight issues (will) take advantage of the Obesity Summit and the presentations from some of our leading health experts," said Calvin Anderson, senior vice president and chief of staff at BlueCross Blue Shield of Tennessee (BCBST).

Donna Richardson, internationally renowned fitness expert, will serve as this year's keynote speaker. For more than 25 years, she has encouraged people to live healthier lifestyles, and she has starred in over 25 award-winning fitness videos.

Other speakers and workshop presenters include the Rev. Kenneth S. Robinson, M.D., pastor of St. Andrew AME Church and the public health policy advisor for Shelby County, Mayor Mark Luttrell, certified trainer Yusuf Boyd of BIOMechaniks, and Chef Timothy Moore, personal plant-based chef and wellness coach.

With his wide array of knowledge and experience, Dr. Robinson will serve to educate the Obesity Summit participants. They can get in a good workout to help improve muscle tone with trainer Boyd. Chef Moore, who writes a weekly health column in The New Tri-State Defender, will demonstrate simple ways to cook quick, tasty, healthy and affordable meals minus fattening oils and dairy products.

The winners of the 100-day weight loss challenge will be announced during the summit. Monetary gift certificates will be awarded to first, second and third place churches whose teams have lost the greatest percentage of weight. There will also be three individual awards, including a $500 gift certificate to the person who has lost the most weight.

The summit will feature presentations by the staff of The Regional Medical Center at Memphis, healthcare screenings, vendors, door prizes and giveaways.

The Challenge is sponsored by BCBST, The Regional Medical Center at Memphis, 95.7 Hallelujah FM, The New Tri-State Defender, Biomechaniks, News Channel 3 and the City of Memphis.

(For more information on the Obesity Summit, call 901-278-0881 or visit Facebook.com/TheHealthyChurchChallenge.)

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