By Lauren Myers | LSU Student
Louisiana is one of the most obese states in the country. According to a 2012 study by the Center of Disease Control, 34.7 percent of adult residents of Louisiana have a body mass index above 30, classifying them as obese.
Baton Rouge Health and Fitness Magazine is trying to change that. Scheduled to launch quarterly editions in October, the magazine is a publication focused on informing Baton Rouge residents of how to live a healthy lifestyle.
"This gives you a realistic view of what health is and how to get there," according to Editor Lyndsey Lovelady.
For Lovelady, the issue of health hits close to home, noting she is one of the only members in her family who is not overweight.
Understanding her own family's battles with weight loss, Lovelady saw this magazine as an opportunity to help others struggling with problems getting fit. "We want to give [our readers] hope, we want to help them along the way and let them know that they can do it."
Advertising Director, Darryl Hurst, also knows something about healthy living. As a former linebacker for Southern University's football team and a personal trainer, Hurst said he went from being active to barely being able to walk. A bout with sciatica forced him to quit exercising. With the appetite of a football player, Hurst gained 30 pounds.
Through physical therapy, Hurst regained his athletic physique, but the experience helped convince him to become a part of Health and Fitness Magazine. "It gave me the opportunity to be a part of something that's going to have a major impact on the way people live their lives."
Lovelady holds the same passion, calling the magazine a "labor of love" for the staff of 15, the majority of whom are working freelance. "Everyone is doing this because they believe in it," she says.
According to a study done by University of Missouri Journalism Professor Samir Husni, close to 70 percent of all new magazines never launch a second issue, and only half of those that do stay in publication for a full year.
Based on these statistics, Baton Rouge Health and Fitness Magazine has some challenges, but Hurst is confident. The magazine is "truly the only health and fitness publication in the market geared towards active healthy lifestyle readers," he says.
Launching in a wide-open market is not its only advantage. The magazine is also partnering with other health organizations, including Whole Foods and Spectrum Fitness, to host events encouraging people to get active.
According to the Center of Disease Control, obesity increases as income level decreases, specifically among women. Being a free publication, the magazine hopes to reach those populations without access to fitness clubs and personal trainers while still being a publication for diverse readers.
Articles will cover such topics as health tips from doctors, collegiate and professional sports, and even sex, with Hurst mentioning an article in the initial October issue about the "do's and don'ts of pillow talk."
Hurst says the magazine will be "inclusive," explaining that articles featured will be written for a wide array of people, from wealthy corporate moguls to stay-at-home moms.
The magazine will be published in January, April, July, and October. If successful, it plans to move to a monthly publication schedule in January 2015. The magazine will also be available online at http://www.brhealthandfitness.com.