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Sponsors of Scale Back Alabama announced Friday that since the inception of the statewide weight-loss competition, Alabamians have lost more than one million pounds. The contest, now in its seventh year, drew more than 27,000 participants in January who worked for 10 weeks to eat less and move more, resulting in a collective weight loss of 129,528 pounds statewide in the 2013 competition.
"We've heard from individuals who lost up to 20 pounds and from others who lost 6, but who are committed to continuing the good habits they've started," said Donald Jones, chairman of Scale Back Alabama and administrator of Marion Regional Medical Center in Hamilton. "Our community looks forward to the contest every year, and we typically have close to 100 people participate in our small area."
Jones' hospital serves as one of the local coordinators and weigh-in sites, along with hundreds of sites across the state including local health departments, hospitals, businesses, schools, gyms, churches and other organizations. In fact, more than 500 individuals or organizations served as grassroots coordinators during the 2013 contest, with 64 counties represented.
"Scale Back Alabama is a great way to focus attention on an issue that greatly affects the health of our citizens," said Dr. Donald Williamson, state health officer. "Obesity is linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and the list goes on. Unfortunately about one-third of Alabamians are considered to be obese. If we could get people to adopt healthier diets and exercise habits, we could eliminate or greatly control many of our chronic health issues."
During the broadcast celebrating the close of the seventh annual contest, the following teams were drawn for the grand prizes. They were drawn from a pool of teams in which every team member lost at least 10 pounds.
The first team drawn was the Hungry Hostages of Wetumpka Elementary School, Wetumpka. Each team member won $1,000 for a total of $4,000 for the entire team.
The second team drawn was Dinner for Smucks of Intuitive Research in Huntsville. Each team member won $500 for a total of $2,000 for the four team members.
The third team drawn was 25% Off of the E.S. Robbins Corporation in Muscle Shoals. Team members won $250 each for a total of $1,000 for the team.
In addition, all individuals who lost at least one pound were eligible to win one of 50 achievement prizes of $100 per person.
Participants losing at least one pound of weight were eligible for prizes as well. Five individuals drawn won one of five prizes of $50 per person.
In the Scale Back Alabama Schools competition, three schools won cash prizes of $500 each donated by the Governor's Commission on Physical Fitness and Sports. Winning schools were Albert Turner Elementary School in Marion, Loveless Academic Magnet Program in Montgomery, and Rosinton School in Robertsdale.
Scale Back Alabama is sponsored by the Alabama Hospital Association and the Alabama Department of Public Health, with generous underwriting from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama.
For more information on this year's contest, go to http://www.scalebackalabama.com/.
Statistics from Scale Back Alabama 2013:
Total number of teams participating – 6,770
Total number of people participating (4 per team) – 27,080
Total number of counties participating – 64
Total number of coordinators – 542
Teams on which each member lost 10 pounds – 415 (1,660 individuals)
Number of individuals who lost at least 10 pounds – 6,479
Pounds lost among the 415 teams – 25,861
Total pounds lost statewide – 129,528
INFORMATION SOURCE: Alabama Dept. of Public Health