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Mayor Menino Launches Boston Moves for Health, Million Pound Challenge Initiative offers free access to fitness resources online and in the community

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 campaignÂ'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 cityÂ's progress toward meeting the challenge goals.

"Together, we have come a long way toward making Boston a healthier city, and Boston Moves for Health is the next step forward," said Mayor Menino. "We have added healthier beverages to vending machines and cafeterias in our schools and city buildings, launched the innovative Bounty Bucks program to improve purchasing power at farmers markets, built hundreds of backyard and community gardens, and changed the way we use our city streets through the Hubway bike share program. Now residents can bring even more healthy changes home to their communities by joining Boston Moves for Health."

While Boston was ranked the third healthiest city in the country in the American College of Sports MedicineÂ's 2011 American Fitness Index, obesity rates remain a challenge. Although rates in Boston are lower than the national average, 56% of BostonÂ's adults are overweight or obese, with higher percentages in communities of color. Meanwhile, only 26% of BostonÂ's adults and only 19% of Boston high school students consume five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

Boston Moves for Health aims to make significant progress in reducing the obesity rate in the city. The initiative has four main goals:

Increase opportunities for adults to be more physically active, eat healthy foods, and reduce their consumption of sugary drinks;
Increase opportunities for children and youth in childcare settings, schools, and out-of-school-time programs to be physically active and to be offered water with meals and snacks;
Increase the number of workplaces that promote and provide healthy beverages and offer employees opportunities to attain/maintain a healthy weight; and
Increase the number of patients and neighborhood residents participating in programs that promote healthy eating and/or active living.

At the kickoff event, Dr. Ferrer presented an action plan to promote healthy weight and healthy communities in Boston. The planÂ's objectives focus on increasing physical activity and healthy eating for people of all ages.

"We know that getting to a healthy weight and being active is so important for overall health, but we also know how tough that can be to achieve. Boston Moves for Health is a fun and interactive way to help people stay on track to meet their health goals by providing community support, free resources, and exciting activities," said Dr. Ferrer.

First proposed in Mayor MeninoÂ's 2012 State of the City Address, Boston Moves for Health has brought together partners from across the city and from different industries to support the health and wellness of residents.

"Getting BostonÂ's neighborhoods moving can help Bostonians live healthier lives, and keep health care costs down. ItÂ's great that Mayor Menino is bringing the city together to take on such an important public health issue Â- we are proud to support Boston Moves for Health," said Andrew Dreyfus, President and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield.

"As the City of Bost