New initiative challenges Charleston to 'Lighten Up' and lose 100,000 pounds

Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr., committee Co-Chairmen Dr. Marcus Newberry and Dr. Patrick O’Neil and members of the community steering committee are challenging the Charleston community to lose a combined 100,000 pounds in an effort to fight obesity.

The mission of the new wellness initiative, called Lighten Up Charleston, is simple: to reduce obesity by promoting healthy eating and physical activity.

Mayor Riley said, “Over the past thirty years, America has experienced a dramatic rise in the incidence of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, including hypertension. Medical care sustains people suffering with these health problems but cannot cure them. As a result, medical care costs have accelerated but health status has deteriorated. Many of these health problems are due to lifestyle choices, primarily inadequate nutrition and physical inactivity. This situation takes a heavy toll on our children and senior population."

The role for Lighten Up Charleston is to be supportive of the programs already out there while creating a rallying cry and a goal for the community to commit itself to and gain a real sense of pride in the accomplishment. Most counties in the lowcountry have an obesity rate higher than the state and national average which is 27%, and bringing attention to the problem is way past due.

Lighten Up Charleston provides an interactive website for people to find programs in the community to help them get healthy, track their progress, and learn ways to lose weight. You can log in and report your weight loss, create a group, tell your story or seek help from the many partners in this huge effort to get healthy.

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