Time to scale back

Published 11:59 pm Thursday, December 25, 2008

Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to scale back — and that includes every thing from finances to weight.

To help with the latter, the third annual Scale Back Alabama initiative will begin Jan. 10 and will conclude March 20. It is sponsored by Alabama’s hospitals — including Andalusia Regional Hospital and Mizell Memorial Hospital, the Alabama Department of Public Health, Barber’s Dairies, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.

The 10-week weight loss competition is designed to capitalize on weight loss for New Year’s resolutions and create a fun atmosphere for weight loss and physical activity, said Valarie McCalman, marketing assistant for Andalusia Regional Hospital and local program coordinator.

“This is a great way for people who have been looking to lose weight but needed that little bit of extra support or spirit of competition to keep them going,” McCalman said. “We are very excited here at ARH to be able to offer this great program to the community.”

Patty Ferman, Mizell’s clinical dietician, said that during 2007, Mizell had 156 teams and 703 participants, and in 2008, 95 teams and 380 participants.

“I feel like that is great, because the whole idea of Scale Back is to make a healthier lifestyle part of your regular routine, not just to lose weight for a contest,” Ferman said.

“This idea will continue to help make Alabama a healthier state.  In what is becoming a national trend, Alabama and Covington County residents are leading the focus on wellness.”

Participants will compete in teams of four.

“This year, every team that completes the contest that has each team member losing at least 10 pounds, that team will be included in a drawing for one of three grand prizes,” she said. “Everyone who loses at least 10 pounds will be included in a drawing for one of 50 achievement prizes of $100 per person, regardless of their team’s achievement, which is a little extra motivation to everyone who participates.”

The first team drawn will win $250 each; second team drawn $500 per team member, and the third team drawn will win $1,000 per team member. These drawings will take place on April 1.

When looking at health statistics, Alabama is ranked third highest in the nation for rates of adult obesity, and also ranks high in rates of hypertension, diabetes and physical inactivity.

“When you look at those statistics, we all need to strive to be healthier,” McCalman said. “This program is a great way to not only lose weight but to make you feel better about yourself all the way around.”

The weigh in sites scheduled for Mizell are: Mon., Jan. 12, from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. in the hospital lobby and at the Wellness Center on Tues., Jan. 13, from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. If any company, civic group or church group would like to have assistance in setting up weigh in site please feel free to call Patty Ferman, 334-493-3541 ext 421.

At ARH, weigh in sites will be held in the first floor classroom and are: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Jan. 12, 14 and 16 from 7 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

For more information visit the website www.scalebackalabama.com.