Statewide weight loss event features $1K prize

Published 6:45 pm Thursday, January 3, 2019

VALLEY – With the turn of the new year, Scale Back Alabama wants to help those throughout the state keep their resolutions by handing out cash for those losing weight.

The goal of the program is team up with another person, and both lose ten pounds in a 9-week period for a chance at a $1,000 grand prize.

The association is sponsored by the Alabama Hospital Association, Alabama Public Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama.

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Scale Back Alabama Programs Coordinator Rosemary Blackman said the program got started 13 years ago when volunteers and the sponsors decided to collectively harness what they were doing together with wellness.

“Obesity is such a significant problem for Alabama,” Blackman said. “We thought that would be a good issue for us to address because of all the long-term health problems associated with it.”

She said obesity has shown to lead to high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, which are all things Alabama ranks in the top five for nationwide.

The idea of making it a contest and incorporating two-person teams is to make it fun.

Blackman said the contest is nine weeks long and Scale Back Alabama sends out health tips along the way. However, she said it is program coordinators throughout the state that takes the messages and runs with it.

“There are typically 400 to 500 program coordinators throughout the state,” she said.

Blackman said Scale Back Alabama is dependent on local businesses, churches, gyms, and other community organizations to serve as official weigh-in sites. There are two types of weigh-in sites — a private site where businesses would only weigh its employees or members, and a public site, which is open to anyone in the community. All the information about how to become a program coordinator is on the association’s website.

Blackman said EAMC-Lanier in the Wellness Center is the only public program coordinator in Chambers County as of Thursday.

The official weigh-in week is Jan. 21 through Jan. 27. Participants have to register that week online, bring the form to a site and weigh in.

“The real goal is not to provide a particular diet or exercise plan, it is just to get people to eat less and move more,” Blackman said. “That is kind of our philosophy.”

She said there is even a phone application to keep track of the progress and explain the program.

Anybody who loses 10 pounds throughout the 9 weeks will be entered into the grand prize drawing on April 16. The first three teams drawn will win $1,000 per team member, the second three teams will win $500 per team member, and the final three teams will win $250 per member.

According to the Scale Back Alabama website, all individuals who lose at least 10 pounds are eligible for an individual prize, regardless of their team’s achievement. However, individuals that are drawn for a team prize are not eligible to win the individual prizes.

From the pool of eligible participants, 40 individuals drawn win one of 40 achievement prizes of $100 per person.

Blackman said the money lures people into the event, but once they well they are feeling, they stick with it.

“We keep doing the program because of the emails we receive from past participants who kept losing weight after the event or that they have stopped taking their blood pressure medication because of their weight loss,” she said.