NEWS RELEA SE F OR I MMEDIATE R ELEASE: S ATURDAY , J ULY 14, 2007 50 Million Pound Challenge Tops 340,000 lbs in 3 Months Stars Come to Detroit for Historic Campaign by African-American Community to Take Control of Health, Fight Toll of Excess Weight Brian McKnight, Yolanda Adams, 112, Tatum Bell join Dr. Ian Smith for Free Special Event of live music, fitness & fun; Campaign takes on 165,000 people, takes off 340,000 pounds to date Anyone can join at 50millionpounds.com Detroit, July 14, 2007 – Vowing to “give up the pounds, not the fight,” Dr. Ian Smith—physician, author of 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 Detroit on July 14 for a free special event of fitness & fun to help people take control of their health and take up the fight against weightrelated 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. Three months into its 14-city U.S. tour, 165,275 people have joined at 50millionpounds.com, losing 345,716 total pounds. A star-studded cast will be at Hart Plaza Saturday, July 14, 12–4 p.m. (EDT) for a free afternoon of live music, fitness & fun expected to draw thousands. Joining Dr. Ian Smith are Grammy-nominated R&B star Brian McKnight, Grammy-winning gospel singer Yolanda Adams, singing sensation 112, Lions running back Tatum Bell, radio host Steve Harvey, renowned DJ Biz Markie, and chief of staff for Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Christine Beatty, who will read a proclamation welcoming The Challenge to Detroit. Attendees can enjoy live entertainment, get free health screenings, learn more about the initiative and its free fitness tips & tools, sign up online, and join Dr. Ian on a Challenge walk. 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 motivate them to keep the weight off. The Challenge aims to reach its ambitious goal by making it easier for millions of people to get fit, lose weight and turn back the deadly toll of weight-related diseases that threatens half of all Americans. Each week 10,000 people die from illnesses related to inactivity and diet. For 135 million Americans and 2/3rds of U.S. adults who are overweight—double the rate a few decades ago—people’s lifestyle choices have become 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 and 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 NY Times #1 best-seller Extreme Fat Smash Diet. “The groundswell of support is remarkable. More than 165,000 people have joined, losing 340,000 pounds. And we’re just getting started. What began as a simple challenge has become a commitment that’s spreading across the entire community. Losing weight and 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 Challenge is hosting events April to November in 14 cities: Washington, DC, Baltimore, Miami, Memphis, Cleveland, Houston, Detroit, Milwaukee, Atlanta, St. Louis, Chicago, New York, Oakland and New Orleans. The campaign has enlisted as champions more than 50 leaders and celebrities across 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 – more – 2 Multicultural & Minority Medicine. And The Challenge is working with State Farm to make it easier for people to get fit and reach their healthy weight with helpful tips & tools, including a go-to resource and online community at 50millionpounds.com. “We’re coming to Detroit to help people take control of their health, make healthier lifestyle choices and give up the pounds, not the fight,” said Dr. Ian. “Working together, we will reverse these deadly health trends, one small step at a time. Get fit & give up the excess pounds—the reward is worth the weight. Not only will it help you live longer, but you’ll look and feel great. Challenge supporter and R&B star Brian McKnight said, “It’s easy these days to get caught up in what’s ‘right now’ and living only for the moment. We need to remember what’s important & enduring in our lives and make the right choices for a healthy body & soul. Because those moments can be cut short and our ‘forever’ turned into ‘never’ if we don’t take care of ourselves. Too many lives are being cut short because we’re not taking the time to take care of our health. The Challenge is a welcome reminder and wake-up call. It’s giving us the tools and support to look out for our health and look out for each other. It’s helping us stay true to ourselves and be there for the ones we love. We all have the power to write the songs of our lives and fulfill the promise of our dreams. The Challenge can help us keep in tune and on track. You haven’t seen anything yet!” Challenge supporter & gospel star Yolanda Adams said, “We're not put on this earth forever. How we live our life does make a difference—in how much love & joy we can share, and how we’re remembered after we’re gone. It also makes a difference in how long we’re blessed to stay. Too many of us are being taken too early because of lifestyle choices that lead to deadly weight-related illnesses. The Challenge is helping us fight back, by exercising & eating right to be our best. Getting fit & losing weight isn’t easy. It’s a personal journey that takes commitment & faith. But it can be easier, and you don’t have to do it alone. The Challenge is bringing us together and empowering us with the tools and resources to help ourselves & help each other. We can feel the power—from inside each one of us, from each other, and from God. People from all walks of life, all across America, are being inspired to take control of their lives and health, and take the first steps in this remarkable transformation. Signing up for The Challenge is easy, free and anyone can join at 50millionpounds.com, where participants can see the total pounds lost by everyone taking The Challenge, and find tips, tools and a private personal weight tracker to measure their own progress. Free Challenge kits are available from participating State Farm agent offices, with a CD and brochure from Dr. Ian with menu and fitness advice, and a pedometer to measure steps. Dr. Ian is working on The Challenge with State Farm, which is sponsoring the initiative as part of its long-time commitment to the African-American community and all communities. “This campaign is ultimately about helping people live longer, more productive lives,” said Pam El, Vice President of Marketing for State Farm. “We care about the health of our communities. State Farm is proud to work with Dr. Ian on a campaign that can have such a positive impact on so many people’s lives.” Said Dr. Ian: “State Farm’s support and concern in this initiative has been outstanding. They really get it.” ### For more information, please contact: Detroit-area media: National media: Other media & inquiries: Meryl Moss, firstname.lastname@example.org, 203-226-0199 (office) Marc Smrikarov, email@example.com, 212-486-7070 (office), 917-595-9481 (cell) Mia Jazo-Harris, firstname.lastname@example.org, 309-766-5242 (office), 309-533-2011 (cell) About The 50 Million Pound Challenge ® Dr. Ian Smith’s 50 Million Pound Challenge, sponsored by State Farm , is a campaign supported and endorsed in name and deed by leaders across the African-American community and national civic and health organizations. The Challenge is an historic opportunity and commitment by the African-American community to come together and help people take control of their health by getting fit, losing excess weight and turning back the deadly toll of weight-related diseases that threatens almost 50% of Americans and is hitting the African-American community particularly hard. About Dr. Ian Smith Dr. Ian is a diet expert for VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club, and author of the NY Times #1 best-seller The Fat Smash Diet and The Extreme Fat Smash Diet, and other works of fiction and non-fiction. He hosts his own TV & radio shows, BET’s Meet the Faith and HealthWatch on the American Urban Radio Network. Dr. Ian is a contributor to the View and Men’s Health Magazine. He has filed reports and written for NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, Essence, Ebony, People, Cosmopolitan and University of Chicago’s Medicine on the Midway. He’s a new dad and lives with his family in Chicago. About State Farm 3 State Farm ® insures more cars than any other insurer in North America and is the leading U.S. home insurer. State Farm's 17,000 agents and 68,000 employees serve over 75 million auto, fire, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and more than 1.6 million bank accounts. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No.22 on the Fortune 500 ® ® list of largest companies. For more information, please visit statefarm.com or in Canada statefarm.ca .