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Countdown to One Million Pounds


Students at the University of Maryland are challenging 250,000 members of their community to lose 4 pounds each—for a whopping total of one million pounds lost by the end of the year.

Inspired by a similar program in New Haven, Connecticut, the students are encouraging their community to get healthier. “Our goal is to have 250,000 people from across Prince George’s County, Maryland, participating in this initiative,” said Sarahann Yeh, a member of the team behind the initiative. According to the group’s website, 72 percent of people in Prince George’s County are overweight or obese.

The campaign, “Lose It to Win It,” is part of the University of Maryland School of Public Health’s Healthy Futures program, which is aimed at curbing childhood obesity and helping families get access to services that they need and are eligible for such as health insurance, food stamps, dental care and tax credits.

People who pledge to lose the 4 pounds are asked to weigh in monthly. They will also receive emails with information on “active community” events, recipes and healthy lifestyle tips. The group’s website also offers several tips to help participants get started including exercise, adding more fruits and vegetables to meals, drinking lots of water and finding a workout buddy.

“This campaign is a vehicle for people to lose weight and live a healthy, active lifestyle,” Sarahann said. “We are hoping that, through this campaign, the community can come together and work as a unit to live healthier lives.”

Being involved in the program doesn’t just mean losing weight. “Involvement can be as simple as encouraging your neighbor to go running with you or pledging to cut back on sugary foods,” Sarahann explained. The team is also looking for help getting the word out about the campaign: One of the biggest challenges for the team so far has been balancing academic priorities with campaign outreach.

The students hope that this program is just the beginning of healthier habits for Prince George’s County as a whole. “With healthy living, people will be able to shed and keep off 4 pounds for many years to come. And hopefully this is just the start to their weight loss.”