406 join ‘Scale Back’ in county

Published 11:59 pm Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More than 400 Covington County residents have taken up the statewide challenge to “scale back” after they signed up last week to participate in “Scale Back Alabama.”

This is the third annual installment of the 10-week weight loss competition, which is designed to capitalize on weight loss New Year’s resolutions and create a fun atmosphere for weight loss and physical activity.

Teams of four will compete against other teams statewide to see who can lose the most weight overall.

Valarie McCalman, marketing assistant for Andalusia Regional Hospital and local program coordinator, said 168 people, in 42 teams, have registered to participate.

“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 so excited about this year’s participation,” she said. “This is the strongest group of participants we have had — 42 teams, wow.  It is great to see the commitment these folks have to being healthier and stronger in 2009.”

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

For 2009, there are 244 people, in 61 teams, who have made the commitment to lose weight.

“Even though the number is less than in years before, I know these people we have registered now are serious about getting healthy,” Ferman said. “These people are ready to put that lifestyle change into effect. It is so great to see.”

The initiative began 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 BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama.

Teams weigh in once a week and this year, every team that completes the contest, and has each team member losing at least 10 pounds, will be included in a drawing for one of three grand prizes.

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. Additionally, 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.

These drawings will take place on April 1.

For more information visit www.scalebackalabama.com.