City Of Houston Benefitting From Health Campaigns

City says it has saved $65 million due to emphasis on health.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker and city council members encourage Houstonians to participate in Shape Up Houston’s “Healthy Selfie” campaign.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker is encouraging Houstonians to take part in a new social media campaign to lose weight.

The campaign is called “Healthy Selfie” and was started by Shape Up Houston, a nonprofit organization that aims to improve the health of Houstonians.

“You download the Healthy Selfie sign from, and then you put on that a, maybe, five-word health tip that you may recommend or (are) experiencing,” Lan Bentsen, the group’s founder, said.

Then take a picture of yourself with the sign and post it on social media with hashtag #healthyselfie.

It’s the same group that challenged Houstonians to collectively lose one million pounds. Since that campaign launched at the beginning of the year, participants have lost more than 22,000 pounds.

Mayor Parker said the city decided several years ago to improve the health of its staff.

“And we have individual employees who have shed 40, 50, 60, even 100 pounds,” she said, “because they had the support of their peers and they had opportunities to not just diet and learn about nutrition but to exercise.”

At-large council member Jack Christie, meanwhile, proposed a different type of pledge.

“Like the Million Pound Challenge, I challenge district council members to do a million dollar challenge,” he said, “and at the end of that year return it to the budget to go towards the debt of the city of Houston.”

But maybe the two pledges go together. The city’s human resources director Omar Reid said the city has saved $65 million over the last three years as a result of emphasizing preventive health measures.



Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter.Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters and the Houston Press Club.Florian is a native of Germany. His studies in Leipzig...

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