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DC’s Providence Hospital kicks off weight-loss challenge

The Washington Post, July 19, 2010

A wiry man, clad in a top hat and coat, approached a table of volunteers at Providence Hospital in Northeast Washington, signing on to one of the largest community weight-loss initiatives in the District's history. "Abraham Lincoln," he called out when asked to identify himself, "We appreciate you participating, Abe," said Sister Elaine Jordan. "But I'm not sure how much weight you can afford to lose." The man shrugged, not admitting to a glimmer of irony, and the 16th U.S. president's name was added to a growing list of participants in the hospital's 150,000-pound weight-loss challenge. If the anachronism could pass anywhere, it would be here, at the hospital chartered by Lincoln in 1861. The facility is so proud of its connection to Honest Abe that a Lincoln impersonator is invited to address the crowd at public events. The hospital that once treated soldiers injured in the Battle of Bull Run now is battling a modern epidemic: rampant obesity.