Founder and Executive Director

Knockout Obesity was founded in 2013 by Brooklyn restaurateur and lifelong borough native, Dimitrios Verteouris. He was inspired to create the organization based on his personal experience overcoming obesity. Born with congenital heart difficulties that required numerous surgeries and severely limited his ability to engage in physical activity, Dimitrios struggled with morbid obesity from a young age. As a result, he grew up with a lifelong desire to find ways to improve his fitness and health, while helping others accomplish the same. Through his three “Nature’s Grill” restaurants in Brooklyn, he demonstrated commitment to providing healthy food to his community, even as his personal struggles with obesity continued.

In 2011, Dimitrios was invited to participate on Food Network’s reality television series, Fat Chef. During the course of filming, he shed 85 pounds in just three months through a non-contact, boxing-based training program. Since the conclusion of the show, he has remained steadfast in his training and has lost more than 100 pounds in total. Through many conversations with personal trainers, professional boxers, and CBOs serving at-risk youth in Brooklyn, he conceived a way to share his success with others and help youth get fit, stay fit, and “knockout” obesity. After piloting the program with The Boys’ Club of New York in 2013, Knockout Obesity officially launched its program at Good Shepherd Services’ Miccio Cornerstone Center in Summer 2014. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and professional boxing trainer Gary Stark, Jr., participated in opening day activities to help launch this important initiative.