Mayor Parker: Houston, let's lose a million pounds

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by Larry Seward / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on January 29, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 29 at 5:45 PM

HOUSTON -- Mayor Annise Parker helped launch a massive weight loss challenge to Houstonians. Shape Up Houston aims to get 50,000 to 100,000 people to lose one million pounds by year’s end.

They stood shoulder to shoulder in Houston City Hall’s lobby.

“What do we have to lose,” the crowd yelled.

Their question is something city administrative assistant Griselda Garza has been asking co-workers for two years.

“It’s a very good motivator to get people moving and out there and losing weight. That helps a lot of the health problems,” Garza said.

She knows first-hand. Type-2 diabetes changed her. Garza lost 40 pounds in two years by eating better and exercising more. It’s the kind of healthy lifestyle Shape Up Houston aims to bring to thousands in the Houston area.

“It’s for their own good,” said Lan Bentsen, Shape Up Houston’s founder. “We’ve got a significant health issue. We’ve got a significant economic issue and there’s something we can do about it.”

The program asks large employers, like the city of Houston, to motivate employees to lose weight.  The goal is to collectively lose a million pounds by New Year’s Eve. Already, HEB is on board. The Texas grocer even created competition between stores in Houston and San Antonio.

“Our stores and our regions are very competitive,” said Winell Herron, HEB Vice President of Public Affairs. “We’re also very committed to wellness.”

So is Garza, who leads lunch hour fitness classes for coworkers. She was applauded during a late Wednesday morning press conference by Mayor Parker. However, if you ask Garza, her true reward is her life.

“It has changed incredibly,” Garza said. 

For more information about Shape Up Houston or how to join, check out their website.

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