While Alabama celebrated a national championship in football again this year, hospitals and the Alabama Department of Public Health assert the state is still closer to the one-yard line when it comes to being healthy.
"We need to cultivate some champions for healthy lifestyles," said Donald Jones, North Alabama hospital CEO and chairman of Scale Back Alabama, a 10-week, statewide weight-loss contest. "With more than 30 percent of our population considered to be obese, we've got some crucial workouts ahead of us, and we can't wait until the fourth quarter to get started."
Scale Back Alabama, now in its seventh year, kicked off the 2013 contest today with a news conference in Montgomery that featured a public service announcement that included Big Al and Aubie, the mascots from the University of Alabama and Auburn University. The "champions for your health" theme was further emphasized by Dr. Donald Williamson, state health officer, who introduced Scale Back Alabama recess.
"It's not enough to simply lose weight," said Dr. Williamson. "Alabamians also need to start exercising - the goal is to get people in the habit of eating less and moving more."
Individuals that want to participate in Scale Back Alabama must form a team of four and then register and do their initial weigh in at an official Scale Back Alabama weigh-in site (found at www.scalebackalabama.com). The contest is free, and to be eligible, individuals must weigh in during the week of Jan. 19–25. During the contest, teams are encouraged to set weight-loss and exercise goals and are provided with weekly health tips.
Over the seven-year history of the contest, Alabamians have lost a total of more than 900,000 pounds. This year's contest is supported by a grassroots network of almost 500 local coordinators, with weigh-in sites in almost every county.
Scale Back Alabama is sponsored by the Alabama Hospital Association and the Alabama Department of Public Health, with generous underwriting by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama.
INFORMATION SOURCE: Alabama Department of Public Health