Boston Mayor Launches Million-Pound March

During his State of the City speech in January, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino noted that half of Bostonians are overweight, and said: “Look, weight is an issue that many of us struggle with. But what is daunting on our own becomes doable when we work together. So my goal is to see all of us combine to shed a million pounds this year.” After the speech, WBUR’s Delores Handy reported, Menino pledged personally to lose at least two pounds a month for the next year.

Well, now it’s official, at least the million-pound part. From the press release:

Today, Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, launched Boston Moves for Health, an ambitious campaign to improve the health and fitness of the city of Boston. Making the announcement from Blue Cross Blue Shield, Mayor Menino challenged Bostonians to collectively lose one million pounds and walk 10 million miles as part of the initiative.

Joined by the campaign’s lead sponsors Blue Cross Blue Shield, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and Partners HealthCare, the Mayor unveiled www.BostonMovesForHealth.org. This free online resource allows participants to set health goals, record their individual progress, find community resources to help keep them on track, connect with friends and neighbors to share tips and workout routines, and view the city’s progress toward meeting the challenge goals.


The Boston Globe’s Kay Lazar reports on the city effort here, and columnist Yvonne Abraham looks at how hard it can be for urban families to live healthier.

Kay’s story ends with top Boston officials pledging to do their part. Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, says she aims to get in five to seven miles a week at Franklin Park, “And drag my husband.”

And the mayor?

“My goal is to do some personal exercise four days a week,’’ Menino said.

Then he added: “I want to see youngsters standing at a bus stop not eating Doritos. I want them eating apples.’’

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  • DM

    I think this initiative is great! It isn’t just about losing weight –
    there is a much bigger idea here that is about getting healthier,
    getting knowledgeable, and getting involved with your community. Whether
    its through making healthier food choices or getting out there and
    moving, its ALL good. Why be negative? The truth is there are plenty of
    people who could benefit from moving, young and old and often its the
    small changes that lead to bigger ones.
    If for someone walking gives someone more energy, that
    may give motivation and incentive to make other positive healthy
    changes. The power of movement cannot be underestimated for long term
    benefits to help prevent indications like arthritis. Instead of focusing
    on what wont work, there should be a focus
    towards encouraging healthy living and that can be through both food and
    exercise. Kudos to Fivi and the City of Boston for recognizing this. 

  • Reasonable?

    I applaud the initiative to fight obesity, but I fear that the paradigm is incorrect.
    This is disappointing for a city that prides itself on health science.
    While excercise should certainly be encouaged for sedentary individuals, excercise itself is not an effective way to lose weight.  Changing food choice is the best way to lose weight.

    Research is also consitently demonstrating that diets low in carbohydrates are especially beneficial for people with obesity and insulin resistance.

    I admit that this message is not as amendable to a slogan, but it does stand on firmer scientific ground.

    • TGG

      Someone observed, ” You can’t out exercise a bad diet.”