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Scale Back helps 70 teams beat the bulge

DEMOPOLIS &045; More than 10 weeks ago, 70 teams of four people made the decision to join the local effort in the statewide weight loss program Scale Back Alabama. Now the group is an average of nine pounds lighter and some are in the running for cash prizes.

According to Wellness Center director Betsy Adams, the second year of the program was successful. Although the number of teams sponsored by the hospital was about the same as it was last year, more people actually followed through with the program this year, she said.

The program began with the premise of losing 10 pounds in 10 weeks. Each team member who reached that goal would be eligible to be entered in the statewide drawing.

The inaugural program last year judged weight on percentage lost, which Adams said helped motivate some participants more. Either way the program worked, Adams said it is the perfect time of year to give people an extra boost into a weight-loss regimen they may have been considering for a while.

For teams sponsored by Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital, members were also eligible for additional cash incentives. Five teams were eligible for the grand prize of $4,000, which equals $1,000 for each team member.

The winning team, which was decided by a drawing from the top five teams, was the &8220;Home Health Hotties,&8221; consisting of Petra Eunice, Deborah Bambarger, Sarah Barnhill and Jana Etheridge.

Adams said this is not the first time the team has competed. The &8216;Hotties were also in the final running for the grand prize last year.

The hospital also awarded four $250 prizes for individual team members, which went to Lisa Jones, Kristi Pritchett, Patti Luker and Sara Webb.

In total, six teams from Demopolis will be entered into the statewide drawing for the grand prize of $4,000, or $1,000 per team member. The state drawing, which will be on April 1, will also award 20 individual prizes of $250. Last year, more than 20,000 Alabamians in 46 counties participated in Scale Back Alabama and lost a total of 78,000 pounds.

Although the numbers are a big motivator for some, Adams said all it takes is a first step to get into a weight-loss program. The classes offered and the tips provided during the duration of the 10-week program are applicable to anyone wishing to begin a more healthful regimen for their lives, she said.

Already gearing up for next year, Adams said she hopes to get even more of the community involved in 2009.