Originally published May 28, 2013
City of Atlanta employees have shed hundreds of pounds and gained national recognition while doing so. On May 20, a group of workers joined Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on Katie Couric's national talk show to discuss their citywide effort to adopt healthier lifestyles.
About 800 city employees joined the mayor's weight loss challenge, a six-week endeavor to improve their diet and exercise habits. Reed said encouraging employees to change their lifestyles has not only improved health and morale in the workplace, but it has helped the city save money in health care costs.
"We have saved $7 million since 2010 by encouraging healthy lifestyles," Reed told Couric.
Employees had the help of celebrity physician and author Ian Smith, M.D., who coached the workers through his lifestyle plan, the SHRED diet, which encourages meal spacing, frequent low-calorie snacks and exercise to boost metabolism and lose weight.
On the show, Couric interviewed several workers who have lost weight and improved other measures of health, such as blood glucose levels and cholesterol numbers, indicating a lower risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
Reed, who also participated in the challenge, revealed he has lost seven pounds and is about halfway to his goal. He said he looks forward to being in good shape in time for the Peachtree Road Race on July 4.