Before you get ahead of yourself, RTE are not offering a million pounds sterling to anybody, who do you think you are... an employee? Nope, they are challenging Ireland to collectively lose one million lbs in one year.
The challenge is inspired by an initiative from Oklahoma where Mayor Mick Cornett decided to take action in 2007 after a fitness magazine ranked his city as one of America’s most obese places to live. Shocked, Mayor Cornett announced that the city was “going on a diet”. Admitting that he was obese himself, he challenged the citizens of Oklahoma to join him on a weight loss programme to collectively lose one million pounds.
Mayor Cornett lost three stone and the city joined him with more than 50,000 citizens registering to track their weight. Local restaurants and gyms were encouraged to support the campaign through healthy menu choices and discounts. Oklahoma City was redesigned to make it more ‘walkable’. Five years later, the city hit its million pound weight loss goal and landed a spot on America’s Top 10 fittest cities.
So yeah, no pressure folks.
Operation Transformation is challenging the people of Ireland to go one better by losing that million pounds in just 12 months. Last year, news broke that Ireland is on course to become the fattest country in Europe with nearly two-thirds of the population overweight or obese.
Mayor Cornett joined Minister for Health Leo Varadkar to launch the Million Pound Challenge in RTÉ today.
Cornett said: “Ireland finds itself at a similar crossroads. I’m confident you can achieve similar success because you have the most important ingredients. Like Oklahoma City, Ireland is home to friendly, hard-working people always up to a challenge. When people are willing to roll up their sleeves, work together, encourage one another and everyone is pulling on the same rope, great things tend to happen."
While Varadkar added; "I’m blown away by the ambition of Operation Transformation for 2016 with this fantastic initiative. They are aiming high but if we all pull together as a nation I think it can be done. Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, and it would be fantastic to mark that by making Ireland healthier than ever before. I hope that two new Government policies to be announced shortly on physical activity and obesity will help Ireland to achieve this new goal."
Supported by Healthy Ireland, the Operation Transformation Million Pound Challenge begins on Wednesday, January 6th, 2016. Registration will open during the first episode of Operation Transformation at 8.30pm on RTÉ One. Individuals, groups of friends, families and companies will be able to log on to the Operation Transformationwebsite - rte.ie/ot - to sign up for challenge and track their weight loss each week.
You don’t even need weighing scales to take part. The Irish Pharmacy Union will offer a free weigh-in service for those participating in the challenge at over 1,000 pharmacies nationwide.
Throughout the campaign, Operation Transformation will be giving tips on how to make the small changes in lifestyle that will help build toward that ultimate million pound goal.
So, what do you think? Would you be up for the challenge?