Dr. Ian Smith, the medical and diet expert behind the 50 Million Pound Challenge, says the obesity epidemic has spiraled out of control. African Americans are twice as likely to have type 2 diabetes, develop end-stage kidney disease, have amputations and die from the disease. "African-Americans are facing an obesity crisis," he says. "It's literally killing us."
Dr. Smith says part of the problem lies with bad habits. "Habits are tough to break, especially for African-Americans when their habits are around food, which is like a culture for them," he says. "Food is love and comfort."
Another major battle is attitudes toward eating and exercising. "Transgenerationally, we've eaten this way, and African-Americans take this 'heels in the ground' approach," he says. "This is a disease often about attitude, and attitude has a lot to be desired right now. We have to improve our attitudes about it."