A new health and wellness program — The Mayors Fitness Challenge — kicks off Aug. 16. Cities taking the challenge will receive tips, best practices, program materials and tools free of charge from PHIT America, a non-profit organization. During the 10-week event, residents will receive complementary or reduced-rate exercises classes, and participate in weigh-ins to track progress, according to program materials.

More than a third of the nation’s adults are obese, according to the CDC. The costs associated with treating obesity were an estimated $147 billion in 2008.

“Health care costs related to inactivity are climbing at an alarming rate and the Mayors Fitness Challenge helps reduce expenses by getting people in communities more active, fit and healthy,” Jim Baugh, founder of PHIT America, said in a statement. “The World Health Organization recently reported that an investment of $1 in physical activity leads to $3.20 in medical costs savings in the United States,” he added.

“Each year, we’ve seen increased support via participation and sponsorship from local businesses as well as an economic boost to the community,” New Smyrna Beach Mayor Adam Barringer said in a statement. “Every mayor should look at this program for their city – revenues from registration fees and sponsors have always covered costs, making the Challenge a win-win for everyone involved.”

The program was conceived by Mayor Barringer in 2010. The two pilot cities involved in the program were New Smyrna Beach, Fla., and Ormond Beach, Fla.

Click here receive more information on the challenge, or to learn how to participate.