Woman Goes to War with Obesity in Mississippi

Linda Fondren of Vicksburg, Miss., leading the fight against obesity.

Mississippi has long been the fattest state in America.  The beautiful people of the south, God bless ’em, would deep fry corn on the cob if it meant a big smile and lots of flavor.  The whole basis of soul food is to warm you up with flavor and put a smile on your face.  Isn’t that what happens when you get good soul food?  Well Mississippi should have streets filled with happy people.  But one woman is not laughing or smiling from the food. In fact, she is sad and upset at the effects it is having on her community and she’s ready to do something about it.

Linda Fondren is from Vicksburg, Miss., and she lost her 54-year old sister to issues with obesity.  She has vowed to go after those in her community first to help them realize a quality life.  In 2006, as a part of her struggle against obesity, she invested her own money to open a woman’s gym, Shape Up Sisters.  Everyone was eligible for the gym’s free nutrition counseling and work-out classes.  The gym now boasts 400 members.

But now she’s trying to give the city of Vicksburg moving with “Shape Up Vicksburg,” a 17-week weight loss challenge that has become a community walking club.  The town’s government and service people have all gotten involved in her program–the mayor, the police chief, school cafeteria workers, teachers and restaurant owners. She has been successful in helping the city to lose a total of 15,000 pounds since October.

Read more here about the amazing crusade Fondren has started that is helping so many residents of her town.  Maybe we can use it in our cities all over the country.

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