Baltimore City Health Department Launches Billion Step Challenge

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contacts:

Michelle Mendes: Office: (410) 396-7286, Cell: (443) 862-0891
Mona Rock: Office: (443) 984-2623, Cell: (410) 375-7763

Challenge Encourages Residents to Become Active

BALTIMORE, MD (July 29, 2017)—Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and The Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) are launching the yearlong Billion Step Challenge, a citywide wellness challenge to encourage all residents and employees in Baltimore City to get active. The initiative, as part of BCHD’s strategic blueprint Health Baltimore 2020, will include partnerships with other city agencies, corporate entities and community organizations to host events that will promote physical activity. Healthy Baltimore 2020 outlines key priorities and objectives through which BCHD aims to reduce health disparities in Baltimore by half over the next 10 years.

“As an avid runner, I know how exercise can help relieve stress and combat chronic disease that affects so many Baltimoreans,” said Mayor Catherine E. Pugh. “The Billion Step Challenge is a great opportunity for all of us to come together to make our Baltimore a healthier city.”

The project will engage City residents toward the goal of a billion steps by:

  • Hosting challenge events in communities across Baltimore City;

  • Creating an online inventory designed to promote walks, runs and wellness events throughout the city; and

  • Working with community-based organizations, churches, the business community, and other stakeholders to promote challenge activities and wellness messaging.

“As an emergency physician, I see patients who are suffering from diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. These are illnesses that can kill—but we can also prevent these diseases and save lives,” said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen. “The Billion Step Challenge is all about all of us—businesses, neighborhood groups, and communities from all across Baltimore—coming together to make physical activity fun and connecting our residents to opportunities to be and stay active.”

As a component of the Healthy Baltimore Campaign, the Billion Step Challenge will also educate residents on other aspects of chronic disease prevention including healthy eating, living tobacco free, and much more.

Partners include: WBAL-TV, Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Ravens, Schmidt Baking, Carefirst, University of Maryland Medical Center, BD Diagnostics, Maryland Department of Health, and SectionOne.

At www.baltimorebillion.com residents will be able to access a calendar with a database of health and wellness events and fitness opportunities taking place throughout the City. At that site, they can also register for the challenge and link their smartphone, wearable fitness device, or other step tracker to help the city to reach its goal of a billion steps.

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