Cash for pounds? Join Scale Back

Published 5:00 pm Friday, November 18, 2011

What would help tempt you to lose weight?

Members of the Coalition for a Healthier Escambia County hope that alleviating a variety of health problems, not to mention medical costs, is enough — but a cash prize might not hurt, either.

The coalition is hoping several local teams will join a statewide effort called Scale Back Alabama next January, an initiative designed to jumpstart weightloss in a state that is consistently ranked near the bottom in terms of obesity.

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“Anything we can do to help fight obesity and teach people to live a healthier lifestyle is going to be a benefit to everyone,” coalition chairwoman Ruth Harrell said. “The long-term effects of a seeing a decrease in obesity in the county would mean lower health costs and that would help us all.”

Ann Lambert, nursing instructor at Jefferson Davis Community College, and Amy Cooley with the Escambia County RSVP, have formed a committee to further the efforts of Scale Back Alabama locally.

“The nursing students at JD will be helping with weigh-ins and reporting beginning in January as the 10-week program gets started,” Lambert said. “We will have more specific times and locations for weigh-ins as the program kicks off.”

Cooley said members of RSVP will have at least two teams participating.

“We want to get as many people involved as possible,” Cooley said.

The program, which will begin weigh-ins across the state Jan. 29, 2012, is beginning its sixth year of encouraging weight loss and health lifestyles for Alabama’s citizens.

The 10-week contest drew more than 33,000 participants in 2010, with a reported weight loss of more than 143,000 pounds.

The campaign is geared toward adults and is primarily operated with the help of local employers (companies with 10 employees or more), hospitals and health departments.  Each organization appoints one person to serve as the contact for the contest. Called the organization coordinator, this person will have access to a comprehensive toolkit with everything needed for hosting a contest locally and serving as a weigh-in site. There is no charge for participating in the contest, and teams are eligible to win statewide prizes.

“Each team will consist of four people,” Lambert said. “Each person commits to losing 10 pounds during the contest period. If everyone on the team reaches that 10-pound weight-loss goal, their names will go into a drawing for a $1,000 cash prize. If the whole team fails to reach that 10-pound goal, the members who do will have their names entered into a drawing for an individual cash prize of $100.”

Cooley said she hopes people will be encouraged to begin a weight-loss program after the holidays.

“We hope that we can encourage people to participate in the program,” Cooley said. “It’s always easier to lose weight when you have encouragement and that’s what we want to provide.”

To learn more about the 2012 Scale Back Alabama , visit the state Web site at

oley said. “It’s always easier to lose weight when you have encouragement and that’s what we want to provide.”

To learn more about the 2012 Scale Back Alabama program, visit the state Web site at