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Challenge Tops 440,000 lbs − Stars Come to Chicago on Historic Campaign by African-American Community to Take Control of Health, Take off Pounds − Sign-up Online, First In Line Get VIP Access

Dr. Ian ,Challenge join Bud Billiken parade, then host Free Special Event August 11 with Common, Musiq Soulchild, Slick Rick; National campaign takes off 443,298 pounds, takes on 190,698 participants in 4 months − 10th stop on 14-city U.S. tour.

Chicago, Illinois. – Vowing to “give up the pounds, not the fight,” Dr. Ian Smith—physician, author of the NY Times #1 best-seller Extreme Fat Smash Diet & VH1 Celebrity Fit Club expert—has created The 50 Million Pound Challenge. Supported by a host of African-American leaders and sponsored by State Farm®, The Challenge is coming to Chicago on August 11 for a free special event of fitness & fun to help people take control of their health and take up the fight against weight-related illnesses. On pace as one of the most far-reaching initiatives of its kind, The Challenge is an historic campaign & commitment by the African-American community to rally people across the U.S. to get fit & lose weight—and ultimately live longer, look & feel great. In 4 months since its April 7 launch, 190,698 people have joined at, and lost 443,298 total pounds.

*Free VIP Access near Stage & Stars for those who Show up First in Line w/Registration after Signing up Early Online

To encourage more people to sign up online before the Chicago event, the first attendees to show up at the event and present a print-out of their e-mail confirmation showing they registered online from Aug. 2–11 get VIP access near the stage and stars. Only one person admitted per confirmation, which is unique to individuals & non-transferable, so friends are encouraged to register. VIP areas open at 12 Noon on event day. People must be 18 or older & no alcohol, smoking or coolers are allowed.*

A star-studded cast is joining Dr. Ian, who is honorary grand marshal in this year’s Bud Billiken parade in Chicago Saturday, Aug.11, which features a Challenge float. After participating in the parade, Dr. Ian hosts the Challenge event—the 10th of the campaign’s 14-city U.S. tour—in Washington Park 12–4 p.m. (CDT) for a free afternoon of entertainment, fitness & fun expected to draw thousands after watching or walking in the parade. The event features appearances by Grammy-winning hip hop star Common, Grammy-nominated soul star Musiq Soulchild, rapper Slick Rick, hip hop star Rob Base, rapper Da Brat and renowned DJ Biz Markie. All attendees can enjoy live entertainment, get free health screenings, and learn more about The Challenge and it‘s free fitness tips & tools at, where anyone can join. They can also get free eshots photos,which they can keep as“before”shots to show their progress “after”reaching their personal weight-loss goals—and motivation to keep the weight off.

New Study Shows Close Friends & Family Tend to Gain Weight Together, But Can Also Lose it Together

The Challenge aims to reach its ambitious goal by bringing people together & making it easier for millions to get fit, lose weight & turn back the epidemic of excess weight & deadly weight-related diseases that threaten half of all Americans. The power of the strong support network The Challenge is building for participants got some strong support of it’s own from a recent study in the New England Journalof Medicine. It found that close friends & family set a powerful example for each other—they tend to gain weight together, but show just as strong a propensity to lose weight together. The need to set more positive examples was never clearer.

Each week 10,000 people die from illnesses related to inactivity and diet. Today, 135 million Americans and 2/3rds of U.S. adults are overweight—double the rate a few decades ago—making their lifestyle choices a matter of life and death. The African-American community has been particularly hard hit, losing too many loved ones to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer & related illnesses. Among African Americans, 80% of women and 67% of men face increased risk of deadly illnesses from excess weight.

“This is an historic opportunity to join hands as a community, take control of our health and save lives,” said Dr. Ian, author of the NY Times #1 best-seller Extreme Fat Smash Diet. “The groundswell of support is remarkable. More than 190,000 people have joined and lost 440,000 pounds. Chicago can help us pass the half million pound mark! What began as a simple challenge has become a commitment spreading across the entire community. Losing weight & getting in shape has never been easier, or more important. Too many are dying from preventable illnesses. The Challenge encourages and empowers people to get fit and give up the pounds that have frustrated so many for so long. It helps us take a giant leap forward towards leading longer, healthier lives.”

To mobilize support and fight back, the campaign is hosting events from April to November in 14 cities: Washington DC, Baltimore, Miami, Memphis, Cleveland, Houston, Detroit, Atlanta, St. Louis, Chicago, New York, Milwaukee, Oakland and New Orleans. The campaign has enlisted as champions more than 50 leaders and celebrities from the African-American community, and national civic & health organizations including the American Diabetes Association, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Inc., 100 Black Men of America Inc., National Urban League, American Council on Exercise, and Institute for the Advancement of Multicultural & Minority Medicine.

“We’re coming to Chicago to help people take control of their health, make healthier lifestyle choices and give up the pounds, not the fight,” said Dr. Ian. “We gained the weight together. We can take it off together. Looking out for each other, we can reverse these deadly health trends, one small step at a time. So join us in taking The Challenge. It’s free. It’s fun. The reward is worth the weight—it can save your life, and you’ll look and feel great!”

Challenge supporter and Grammy-winning hip hop star Common, said, “We’ve all got so much power and potential to lift ourselves up, make our voices heard and plant seeds that can change our lives forever. Too many people are selling themselves and their lives short by not taking care of their health or staying true to who they are. And their forever can be over before it’s even started. It’s time we got concerned. It’s time we took action. If we want to become what we know we can be, we need to liberate our bodies and liberate our souls. We need to take on the responsibility of using our freedom to make smart choices in our lives. The Challenge is helping us take back forever by taking control of our health. It’s helping us make smarter choices in the food we eat, the shape were in and the lives we lead. If we have faith in ourselves, God and each other, there’s no limit to what we can achieve.”

Challenge supporter and Grammy-nominated soul star Musiq Soulchild said, “I’m honored that I can use my influence to bring attention and raise awareness to the cause of being healthy. I think that everyone should want to do the same. You only have one body. It would be wise to take care of it.”

Signing up for The Challenge is easy, free and anyone can join at, a go-to resource and online community where participants can see the total pounds lost by everyone taking The Challenge. It offers free tips and tools that make it easier for people to get fit and reach their healthy weight— there’s even a private personal weight tracker to measure their own progress. Free Challenge kits are available, with a CD and brochure from Dr. Ian with menu and fitness advice, and a pedometer to measure steps.

* For details on VIPs, go to

For more information, please contact:

* Chicago-area Media: Meryl Moss, (203) 226-0199 (office)
* National Media: Marc Smrikarov, (212) 486-7070 (office),
(917) 595-9481 (cell)
* Other Media & Inquiries: Mia Jazo-Harris, (309) 766-5242 (office),
(309) 533-2011 (cell)


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