Since its launch in April 2007, the 50 Million Pound Challenge has registered over 420,000 participants who have lost a collective 2 million pounds! The challenge's founder, Dr. Ian Smith, says there's still more work to be done. Gayle talks with Dr. Smith, who is also the diet expert on VH1's Celebrity Fit Club reality show, about his continued mission to help Americans—especially African-American men and women—slim down.
According to Dr. Smith, approximately two-thirds of the African-American population is overweight, a statistic he's hoping to change by getting across his message of healthy eating and increased exercise. At the 50 Million Pound Challenge website, he says users can calculate their Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine whether they fall within a healthy weight range. Then, they can access the diet, nutrition and exercise tips they need to start losing weight, free of charge.
While Dr. Smith says his program is targeted toward African-Americans, the message is about health, not race. He says certain cultural stereotypes do exist within the black community that favor larger figures but that those views should not prevent people who are overweight—and are therefore at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other ailments—to take control of their health and get fit.
"Don't feel less because you're overweight; don't feel inferior because you're overweight," he says. "Still love yourself even while you're overweight—but still work to be healthy to improve the length and the quality of your life," he says.