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D.C. Fitness Challenge To Tackle City's Obesity Epidemic | Health

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D.C. Fitness Challenge To Tackle City's Obesity Epidemic

This story comes to us from Sarah Massey:

Washington, D.C. — Aimed at battling DC's alarming obesity rate, one of the highest in the country, on Saturday May 14, 2011 Project Fitness Community and WIAS (Wellness In American Schools) will host the second annual DC Fitness Challenge. The event will take place at McKinley Technology High School, located at 151 T Street, Northeast, D.C., from 10 a.m.—2 p.m.

The DC Fitness Challenge is a community-focused health and fitness competition designed to help combat the city's overweight and obesity crisis through encouraging local communities to get active and fit. The Challenge began last year as a way to motivate fitness enthusiasts to reach back into their communities and inspire young people to get involved in health and fitness activities. Through friendly competition, participants motivate future generations to start their fitness journey.

"This event will challenge both the athleticism and character of our city," said Chickaro Martin, founder of Project Fitness Community. "The competition will highlight how individuals, supported by local businesses and organizations, can make an impact through supporting healthy lifestyles at all ages. At the same time, we'll find out who the fittest people in DC are and how they got there."

In the District, adult and childhood obesity rates have reached epidemic proportions, with more than half of all residents either overweight or obese, according to the latest figures released by the DC Department of Health (DOH). The DOH Overweight and Obesity Action Plan shows the statistics get worse in DC's most underserved wards.

The risk of being overweight or obese can be forecast with some certainty simply by looking at zip codes.

• More than half of all adults living in the District (55 percent) are overweight or obese—this rate skyrockets to 72 percent in Wards 7 and 8.

• One in every three children living in the District is at risk of becoming, or is already, overweight.

• Citywide, obesity rates are extremely disproportionate between races. The report shows that less than one in 10 White residents is obese; while rates rise to one in every three African-American residents.

• More District residents die each year from the complications of obesity-related diseases than from AIDS, cancer, and homicide combined.

• Costs of overweight and obesity in the District were estimated to be more than $400 million in 2004. Research shows that excess weight is related to increased risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, strokes, sleep apnea, and a number of other serious diseases.

The DOH Action Plan estimates life expectancy is seven years fewer for obese women and four years fewer for men compared to their normal-weight counterparts. The report also shows that DC's five leading causes of death—heart disease, cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and stroke—are all directly related to poor diet, little physical activity, and excess weight. It's not too late to begin reversing this alarming trend in the nation's capital.

On Saturday, May 14, 2011 please join Project Fitness Community and WIAS for the second annual DC Fitness Challenge. The Challenge runs from 10 a.m-2 p.m. at the McKinley Technology High School located at 151 T Street, NE, and will bring together fitness enthusiasts, young people and local businesses all aimed at combating DC's overweight and obesity crisis.

Project Fitness Community is an initiative of WIAS (Wellness In American Schools), a local non-profit organization helping to prevent childhood obesity. Proceeds from the DC Fitness Challenge will help support free student workshops throughout the year. Get more information and register for the Challenge here.