Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange, "The River Region, the most obese in the country. That really hurt our feelings."
It wasn't the brightest moment for Montgomery, but it no doubt caught the city's attention.
Michael Briddell was appointed "Health and Wellness Czar" and set out to decrease the River Region's waistline.
One year later, the results speak for themselves.
A recent Gallup poll shows the River Region went from 34.6% obesity rate in 2010, to an improved 33.4% obesity rate in 2011.
"To drop that much is borderline miraculous" Briddell adds.
The region is lacing up it's walking shoes: at local gyms, during breaks and even walking to get a healthy lunch. Putting some sweat equity where it's needed most.
"18 regions were worse than the River region, we went from 171st, to 20th in overall health and wellness" adds Briddell.
Now the healthy progress will extend into the school year. The River Region, a recipient of an $85,000.00 grant from the Alabama Department of Transportation. It's part of the safe routes to school program, helping youngsters get the exercise they need.