Scale Back Alabama campaign nears end

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 12, 2008

DEMOPOLIS &045; Area participants of Scale Back Alabama began weighing in at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital and have shown successful results thus far, with 90 percent of weigh-in participants losing 10 pounds or more.

Adams said the center encourages Scale Back participants to come in today and Friday for their weighin. The center will weigh-in participants from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. each day.

Adams said an individual winner will be drawn and will receive $250. Adams said the grand prize of $1,000 will be given to the overall winning team.

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Adams said as of Wednesday only 14 percent of the participants who joined the program in January have weighed in.

On the state level

There’s been some expanding going on in the statewide weight-loss campaign, but it’s the kind of increase organizers were hoping for.

They say 10,000 teams started weighing out around the state Tuesday &045; double the 5,000 groups that participated in last year’s program.

The 10-week program began Jan. 5 and ends Friday.

More than 20,000 Alabamians participated last year and lost 78,472 pounds. This year there are more than 40,000 participants and everyone who achieves the goal of losing 10 pounds will be eligible for a raffle in which 20 prizes of $250 will be given away.

Those who are on teams where all four members lost 10 pounds will also be eligible for a drawing to receive $1,000 each on April 1.

Alabama was ranked third fattest &045; with 29.4 percent of its residents regarded as obese &045; in a Trust for America’s Health study last August. The Scale Back Campaign began in 2007 as a way to help the state shed its label for obesity.

While the program doesn’t tout any specific weight-loss methods, online lesson plans and classes with healthy eating tips and other tools are provided to help teams accomplish the 10-week goal.

Wetumpka resident Linda Webb heard about the campaign through a friend.

They decided to do Scale Back along with the Weight Watchers program.

Last year the program ran for eight weeks with participants in groups of three to five members vying to be the team that lost the highest percentage of weight.

All members of the winning team won $1,000 each, but that was the extent of the prize money.

Gaines said she’d like to think people were encouraged by the health benefits rather than the hope of the additional $250 prizes, but she’s glad for the increase in participation whatever the cause.

Switching the focus to losing just 10 pounds instead of awarding the top prize to the team that lost the most weight was well received, Gaines said.

Desiree Hunter, Associated Press Writer, contributed to this report.