The seventh annual Scale Back Alabama contest—a 10-week competition that encourages Alabama citizens to lose weight and improve their overall health—recently came to an end and participants and health officials are anxiously awaiting the overall results scheduled for release April 26.
Alabama citizens definitely need to shed some pounds. Alabama ranks as the fourth highest most obese state in the nation with 32 percent of adults in Alabama considered obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The United States Sports Academy volunteered to be a local weigh-in site for the competition and 16 of its employees were divided in teams of four to participate in the contest. Participants would weigh-in weekly at the Academy and other certified weigh-in sites to track their progress and assess if their dietary practices and exercise routines were helping them lose weight.
In addition, the Academy offered free body composition testing to its employees to detect body fat percentage and provide estimations on resting metabolic rate and total energy expenditure. If used properly, these results can be beneficial for developing daily meal plans and exercise routines. In order to improve overall fitness, it is critical to know these numbers.
Last year, the contest, which is sponsored by The Alabama Department of Public Health and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, drew nearly 30,000 people in almost every county with a cumulative reported weight loss of 148,963 pounds. The contest is free of charge and promotes safe and healthy weight loss.
The program had a very positive effect on participating Academy employees, as well as the entire institution. “I was truly inspired throughout the entire competition,” said Ina Kendall, the Academy’s Academic Affairs secretary. “Although this was a competition and teams were competing against each other, I felt encouragement and a sense of togetherness to achieve a common goal. I was very excited during the last week of competition when I realized I achieved my weight loss goal.”
Teams that had every member lose at least 10 pounds were eligible to be included in a drawing for three grand prizes. Team drawings are set to take place on April 26. The first team drawn will win $4,000. The second and third teams drawn will win $2,000 and $1,000, respectively. All individuals who shed at least 10 pounds will also be included in an achievement prize drawing, regardless of their team’s success.
Overall, the 16 Academy employees lost more than 100 pounds. Everyone at the Academy was excited to complete the contest and some expressed hope that similar efforts are implemented in the future.
Scale Back Alabama did a great job with this year’s campaign. It’ll be interesting to see this year’s turnout and cumulative weight loss. Now the tough part—staying in shape.
Brandon Spradley is a Teaching Assistant and doctoral student at the United States Sports Academy. He oversaw the Scale Back Alabama program done at the Academy. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.