Walkers join to decrease Haywood County’s No. 1 obesity ranking
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BROWNSVILLE, Tenn. — Haywood County is rated No. 1 in the state for obesity, but one man’s extreme weight loss journey inspired residents to walk beside him, literally, toward a healthier community. “Walk with Drew & Friends” is a program set up in Brownsville to decrease its 42.5 percent obesity rate, the highest in the state. Drew Magruder is the face behind the program. After losing more than 160 pounds three years ago, he said community activists approached him with the idea of expanding his journey to help others. “I lost a lot of weight, and it took me a long time,” Magruder said. “People asked me how’d I do it.” More than 80 people came out Tuesday to the first weekday of the walk. The community endorsed event used the same stadium their high school football team plays in, and water was donated by a local grocery store. “The goal of this is just to get people up and moving and give them a place to go to and walk with their friend,” Magruder said. Residents said their favorite part about the walk was that there’s no need for speed. There were no weigh-ins or measurements, so they could just focus on getting healthy. Barbara Bond said she has been walking with Drew since the beginning. “I’m not forced to eat certain foods or weigh in, so it takes a lot of the pressure off,” Bond said. Magruder said he is just trying to make a difference in the community he calls his hometown. “If one person could just pick up the habit and move on like I did, then I know I would have done something,” Magruder said. The Haywood Health Coalition sponsored the walk, and representatives said it is free to the public and all ages are welcome. For a full list of times Drew walks with friends, go to the Seen on 7 section of our website.