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2003 News from Mecklenburg County

October 3, 2003

WHAT: Mecklenburg County Health Department, partners announce launch of all-new health and wellness initiative called the Fit City Challenge, and the program's web site.

WHEN: 1:30pm on Tuesday, October 7, 2003

WHERE: Ray's Splash Planet, 215 North Sycamore St., Charlotte, NC 28202

WHO: Mecklenburg County Health Director Peter Safir; Chairman of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners, Tom Cox; Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory; Chairperson, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, Dr. Wilhelmenia I. Rembert; Chairman of the Mecklenburg County Healthy Weight Task Force, Dr. Don Schumacher; and a physical activity demonstration by 4th and 5th graders from Irwin Avenue School and fitness superhero, "Aerobocop".

WHY: The Fit City Challenge is a community wide initiative to encourage and empower program participants to increase their level of physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption, and to document their success on a dynamic and interactive web site. Beyond promotional and awareness campaigns, the Fit City Challenge aims to provide the tools, the motivation and the mentoring for both the individual and the community to succeed in addressing the epidemic of unhealthy weight.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 61% of American adults are overweight or obese and that the percentage of children and adolescents considered overweight has doubled since the 1970's. Obesity and related illnesses cost the U.S. $117 to $120 billion dollars every year in direct care costs and lost productivity. This epidemic now ranks second behind only tobacco use in preventable causes of death.

The Fit City Challenge is the result of the work of the Mecklenburg County, NC Healthy Weight Task Force and its charge to identify best practices and galvanize the community in overcoming the factors that contribute to overweight and obesity, particularly in children and youth.

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Media Contact: D.C. Lucchesi at 704-432-0344 or lucchdc@co.mecklenburg.nc.us



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