Poster children of obesity

When Camas Mayor Scott Higgins stepped on the scale at Capt. William Clark Park, he didn’t intend to share the number that popped up with the couple dozen people in attendance.

Washougal Mayor Sean Guard, however, was kind enough to announce Higgins’ number – 300 pounds – to everyone.

Within days, the mayors’ weights – Guard weighed in at 235 pounds – had been printed in dozens of newspapers, shared with thousands of TV news viewers and announced over the airwaves of numerous radio stations.

The Columbian, of course, had a story. The Associated Press had a story. NPR had a story.

The Camas-Washougal weight-loss challenge even prompted producers from CBS’s national morning show to come calling. The mayors are still working out an interview date.

The mayors have received hundreds of emails and phone calls from people across the country offering support and trying to sell supplements.

All of the attention caught Guard and Higgins a little off guard.

“It was definitely not my hope to be the poster child for obesity in America,” Higgins said.

“It’s a hell of a motivator,” Guard said.

But it didn’t stop there.

On May 7, just a few days after the challenge launched, the CDC issued a report predicting America’s obesity rate would reach 42 percent by 2030.

The Associated Press wrote a story about the report and distributed it across the wire with this photo, even though it didn’t directly relate to the report:

ImageAP Photo/Don Ryan

“It’s like they said, ‘Hey, here’s a couple fatties. Let’s use them,’” Higgins said of the photo selection.

“It’s a little embarrassing,” he added.

Hey, at least it wasn’t this photo, also taken by the AP, in which Guard is giving Higgins a little belly shake:

ImageAP Photo/Don Ryan

Motivated by a desire to win and belly photo embarrassment, both mayors have already dropped a few pounds

As of Friday (nine days after the launch date), Guard was down 8 pounds. Higgins had lost 12.

Both mayors are confident they’ll lose more weight than their counterpart. So confident, in fact, they’re trying to come up with a friendly wager.

So far, they haven’t been able to come up with anything. But the mayors are taking suggestions.

So what say you, APIL readers? What should the mayors wager?

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