All you had to do was sign up to participate in the free 10-week Scale Back Alabama weight-loss contest. The only prerequisite for the cash drawing — each member must lose 10 pounds during the contest.
My wife, Nora, and I have joined forces with editor James Phillips and his wife, Andrea. Our team name is Run DME (Diet – Maintain – Exercise). Of course, we would love to be lucky enough to win a cash prize, but our collective goal is to improve our overall health.
I must admit this past year has been difficult on my waistline. But physical fitness is a priority. And to encourage it at the Daily Mountain Eagle I have partnered with Fitness Factory to offer family memberships to all employees.
According to a recent ABC report, more than half of Americans could be obese by 2030. As a result, there will be millions of new cases of diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke – a constellation of illness that could cost the United States up to $66 billion in treatment and over $500 billion in lost economic productivity.
Locally, 20 teams of four adults are participating in the statewide program at Walker Baptist Medical Center. In Alabama, more than 20,000 teams last week weighed in and are now setting their team goal on qualifying for the cash prize drawings to be held following the weigh-out week of April 6-12.
There will be three large cash drawings held from a pool of teams that accomplish the 10-pound weight-loss per member. The grand prize is $1,000 per team member, while second place gets $500 per team member and third place receives $250 per team member.
A secondary drawing will also be held for all individuals who lost at least 10 pounds, but were not a participant of a qualifying team. There will be 50 individual $100 drawings.
All winners will be announced April 26 online at the contest’s official website, www.scalebackalabama.com.
Scale Back Alabama is a public awareness campaign hosted by Alabama’s hospitals and the Alabama Department of Public Health, with generous support from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.
Last year, Walker County participants lost over 880 pounds; an average of 13.5 pounds each for those completing the 10-week contest, noted Renae McKinney, marketing manager for Walker Baptist Medical Center.
It is a small dent in what has become an obesity epidemic nationwide.
Here in Alabama, a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 32 percent of adults are obese, putting Alabama in fourth place for the state with the highest obesity rates. It also says that the 18 to 24 age group is the most obese.
Mississippi has the highest obesity rate in the country with 35 percent while Colorado came in as the lowest, at 21 percent.
The state launched Scale Back Alabama in 2006. In its first six years, 197,968 people have participated in the annual program, losing almost 760,000 pounds total.
Regardless of whether you signed up for Scale Back Alabama, it is never too late to improve your health.
Jack McNeely is Publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle and can be contacted by phone at 205-221-2840 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.