In the News


Walk of life: Doctor takes new path to help patients lose weight

PD File Image Rita WalkingThis article, written by The Plain Dealer’s Margaret Bernstein, originally was published on Aug. 23, 2005, in the Arts & Life section.

Some doctors really want to get their message across. Remember the 1980s when, as surgeon general, C. Everett Koop mailed information on AIDS to every American home?

Dr. Rita Beckford isn’t relying on the mailman. She’d rather deliver her message in person, which is why she has spent this year politely forcing audiences at Cleveland churches, schools and outdoor fairs to get up and burn some calories with her.

That’s her bouncing around in red shorts with her braids swinging, trying to sweet-talk a dozen people at a church health fair into breaking a sweat. “We’re just going to do a fast five-minute warm-up so everybody can see how easy it is,” she says while launching into an aerobic routine that’s actually 20 minutes long.

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