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Gwen Foster, Health and Fitness Czar
"The mayor is setting a good example"
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Tuesday, 13 March, 2001, 11:56 GMT
Philadelphia wages war on fat
Obese people
Philadelphia is said to be the fattest city in the US
The US city of Philadelphia has launched a campaign to rid itself of the title of the fattest city in America.

Philadelphia's mayor John Street has ordered its citizens to go on a strict diet after the city came top in a poll by Men's Fitness magazine.

Government officials are roaming the streets with weighing scales, health clubs have been told to slash prices and Philadelphia's famous cheese steak is now out of favour.

The target of the "76 Tons of Fun" campaign is for city dwellers to lose a combined total of 76 tons in 76 days.

The target is a reference to the local basketball team, the Philadelphia 76ers, who have backed the campaign.

Everybody who takes part in the drive to lose weight is given 10 simple health and fitness challenges. These include:

  • drink more water
  • take more physical exercise
  • eat more fruit, vegetables and high fibre foods
  • breathe more deeply
  • eat a larger, healthier, breakfast, and small suppers
  • take time to rest and play
Gwen Foster is the city's Health and Fitness Czar.

She told the BBC that the campaign had been promoted in the local media, schools, offices and even churches.

She said: "We are encouraging everybody to have a little friendly competition.

"We seem to be doing a pretty good job of it because we have got thousands of Philadelphians all over the city involved."

Ms Foster said about 200 weigh-in sites had been set up for people to check on their progress.

"We are encouraging people to do the positive things, and we are not emphasising the negatives."

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