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Dixon wants city to get in shape

The Baltimore Sun

Flanked by pompom waving Health Department employees, Mayor Sheila Dixon launched a "B'more Healthy" campaign in Memorial Plaza yesterday, urging residents to take 10 steps to improve their well-being.

Dixon, a workout fanatic, told the crowd it was time to exercise more and eat better - including a healthy breakfast.

"You can come with me to the gym," she joked. "It's somewhere today on my schedule."

The B'more Healthy' campaign includes plenty of advice that officials have issued before.

But Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, the city health commissioner, emphasized the importance of keeping the public educated and informed. "Far too many people don't have a primary care provider," Sharfstein said, adding that the campaign could "save lives in Baltimore - lots of lives."

Sharfstein said he hopes that the estimated 30 percent of HIV-infected residents of Baltimore who don't know they carry the virus will visit city testing clinics, for the safety of themselves and others.

The Health Department has organized employees in agencies across the city to broadcast the message and distribute more than 30,000 fliers advertising the 10 steps.

The fliers, bearing phone numbers and health Web site addresses, will be distributed in locations that include "clinics, restaurants, doctor's offices ... and in the courts, too," Sharfstein said. Advertisements will be displayed city bus shelters.

"This is a campaign based on simple ideas," Dixon said in announcing the campaign, stressing that good health requires more common sense than sophistication.

Area doctors also supported the initiative.

Dr. Kyu Rhee, chief medical officer of Baltimore Medical System, which operates seven health centers around the city, said, "95 percent of health is very simple."

Carolyn Jackson-Boone, a Health Department employee who joined cheerleaders in bright yellow T-shirts, said she hoped the campaign would inspire Baltimore residents to battle obesity and live healthier lives.

"People eat too much fried food like french fries and hamburgers," she said, "and I'm talking about my own kids."

For more information on the city's health resources and the B'more Healthy Campaign, visit

B'More Healthy

The Health Department's plan for Baltimore residents:

1) Have a primary care doctor

2) Be tobacco-free

3) Know your HIV status

4) Get help for depression and mental illness

5) Be drug-free

6) Get immunized

7) Plan your family

8) Protect your family

9) Exercise and eat well

10) Look out for your neighbors

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