300-plus compete in weight loss challengeThe goal was to sign up 20 teams for the first ever “Lose Weight In 8” challenge in New Richmond.
The goal was to sign up 20 teams for the first ever “Lose Weight In 8” challenge in New Richmond.
But when the registration deadline passed on Friday, some 83 teams had signed up and nearly 350 people were part of the community-wide effort that is being sponsored by JA Counter & Associates and HealthPartners.
“We are thrilled with the response,” said Deb Henke, operations manager for JA Counter. “It has far exceeded our expectations. We are pleased to be able to provide a challenge that has an immediate impact on the health of the community.”
Henke said there has been a “tremendous buzz” surrounding the challenge since it was announced a few weeks ago. It was a major topic of conversation at a recent New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce event. It was also discussed extensively among a group of hockey parents, who eventually decided to form a couple teams.
This week, LWI8 participants are completing their official weigh-in process. They will also log in to the official website for the first time. The actual challenge itself runs from Jan. 22 to March 17.
Teams of two to six people are competing head-to-head in a contest to see which team can lose the most weight on average over an eight-week period.
At the end of the challenge, the top team will win $1,000 and the top individual loser will get $250.
The challenge is part of New Richmond’s Vitality Initiative, which encourages everyone in the New Richmond School District to take steps to become healthier over the next year.
Families, businesses, organizations and others have signed up to participate. Henke said about 70 percent of the teams that were formed come from local businesses and organizations. The rest constitute families and neighbors.
Team names range from “Flab-U-Less” to “Huff N Puff” to “Muffin Kickers.”
By participating in the challenge, contestants have access to a HealthPartners website that helps them track calorie intake and activity levels. The online tool helps participants plan meals, find recipes and much more.
HealthPartners officials said the community challenge will have a lasting impact on the lives of participants. If the average person succeeds in losing eight pounds over the next eight weeks, said Kristi Cherney, HealthPartners coordinator, more than 2,500 will be shed in New Richmond.
“That’s more than a ton,” she said. “That’s a Volkswagen Beetle. That’s more than a water buffalo. It is so exciting to see this take shape – I really hope you are all very proud of the work you’re doing to make this happen.”
JA Counter and the Vitality Initiative are planning three other wellness activities that everyone can be a part of in 2012. More information on those programs will come at a later date.