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People Top 5
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PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- August 22, 2011
- Vol. 76
- No. 7
'I Can Be An Example'
In the Country's Fattest State, Lady Jackson Fights to Get in Shape-and Motivates Others to Join the Movement
Now she wants to inspire others to do the same in Jonestown, Miss.-a small town of 1,500 residents in Coahoma County, which boasts one of the nation's highest obesity rates. And with the closest grocery store 12 miles away, Jonestown falls in one of the 6,500 food deserts across the country where fresh food is hard to come by (see box). "We have tiny grocery stores that major in pop, beer and chips," says Sister Teresa Shields, 66, who runs the Jonestown Family Center, where Jackson recently signed up for a six-week nutrition course. Since then dinner looks dramatically different at home. "My favorite meal is baked chicken," says Jackson, a teacher at the Family Center. "We eat raw spinach salads. I buy a lot of mixed vegetables-stuff we never would have dreamed of eating."
Jackson also leads a growing group of friends and family at Tae Bo classes at the Family Center's gym, which she opens after hours so people can join her after work. "Lady is the motivator," says Jackson's friend Zakeena Johnson, who has lost 15 lbs. "She is always like, 'You can do this!'" While Jackson has lost 40 lbs. so far, the biggest change in her life? "I see my 17-year-old [Erin] walking two miles a day. She also gave up soda and likes water," she says proudly. "I'm trying to stop a generation of eating wrong and start a generation of eating right."
- with Darla Atlas/Jonestown.
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