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Scale Back weigh-ins start Monday

For Covington County residents wanting to lose weight, the time is quickly approaching for weigh-ins for Scale Back Alabama.

Locally, Andalusia Regional Hospital, First Assembly of God Church, Mizell Memorial Hospital and Mizell Wellness Center will have weigh-in sites.

Scale Back Alabama is a 10-week program, which is part of a statewide initiative focused on weight loss.

Over the last four years, Alabamians have been successful using this program, with participants dropping nearly 500,000 pounds.

Still, health experts say that is just a drop in the bucket when considering the state’s problem with obesity.

The most recent report from the Centers for Disease Control said Alabama was the second most obese state in the nation.

“We began this contest with Alabama’s hospitals four years ago,” Donald Williamson, state health officer said. “And while it’s a fairly major undertaking, there’s not time to let up. A recent update from the CDC provided information on obesity rates by region, and we have some areas of the state with 36 to 48 percent of adults listed as obese, meaning their body mass index is more than 30.”

The program is designed to target adults in the workplace, with the goal of reaching the families as well.

Campaign organizers stress the high cost of obesity not only to employees, but also to their employers pointing to statistics that show health care costs for obese workers are about 21 times higher than they are for employees in the normal weight range.

“I cannot emphasize the impact of losing a little weight,” Williamson said. “It’s been proven that even a weight loss of 5 to 15 percent in an individual who is overweight or obese can reduce the risk of some diseases, particularly heart disease. We hear from Scale Back Alabama participants each year who have been able to cut back or even eliminate certain types of medicines thanks to their weight loss.”

Locally, residents can begin weigh-ins as soon as Monday.

Andalusia Regional Hospital will hold a weigh-in Jan. 25 from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Jan. 27 from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

First Assembly of God Church in Florala will hold a weigh-in Jan. 25 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Mizell Memorial Hospital will weigh in Jan. 27 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Mizell Wellness Center will have the first Jan. 25 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Jan. 26 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

ARH’s Valerier McCallum said the hospital is “excited to offer this program to the community.”

McCallum said it provides individuals looking to lose weight with a little extra support in the spirit of competition.

The way the program works is participants will compete in teams of four, and for every team that completes the 10-week contest with each team member losing at least 10 pounds — “which is an average of only one pound per week,” McCallum said — that team will be included in a drawing for one of three grand prizes. The first team drawn will win $250 each, second team drawn will win $500 per team member, and the third team drawn will win $1,000 per team member.

The program will conclude April 10 with weigh-outs scheduled through April 16.

For more information about the program or to register a team, contact ARH at 334-222-8466 or Mizell at 334-493-3541.