BY COSHANDRA DILLARD, firstname.lastname@example.org
In October 2012, Mayor Barbara Bass and The Fit City Challenge coalition members announced the launch of Lighten Up East Texas, a regional weight loss contest, during a press conference at Tyler City Hall. The incentives for the contest include a 2013 Dodge Dart, provided by Allen Samuels Dodge. Participants will also have chances to win fitness packages, trips, Brookshires gift cards, and a passport dream vacation provided by Travel Masters.
Speakers noted that the Tyler Fit City initiative that began in 2010, with more than 100 businesses and organizations has sparked an interest among residents in surrounding communities.
“We got it started and grounded in our community and then this year, we are taking it to the next level,” Mayor Bass said. “You’ve seen announcements from communities all around East Texas who are getting involved in being fit within their communities. We have started an exciting program and have seen results within our community and because of that the rest of East Texas wants to join what we are doing.”
Brookshires, along with Allen Samuels Dodge, is one of the three platinum-level sponsors for the contest. They donated $5,000 in cash and $5,000 worth of gift cards to the contest.
Lighthouse Graphics, another platinum-level sponsor, donated 2,000 T-shirts, which were given to all participants who weighed in at Bergfeld Park on November 3. Northeast Texas Health Public Health District, the City of Tyler and the Tyler Morning Telegraph are gold-level sponsors. George Roberts, chief executive officer at NET Health, brought the mission of the contest into perspective, noting the obesity epidemic, which he views as “the greatest threat to the citizens of Tyler.”
“Statistics say that roughly over 30 percent of the Texas citizens are obese,” Roberts said. “Right now if those trends don’t change with our youth, one-third of the kids that were born in 2000 are expected to have (type 2) diabetes, according to the CDC.”
Dr. Valerie Smith, a pediatrician at St. Paul Children’s Medical Clinic, said she was proud to raise a family in a city where all entities are working together to make residents healthier.
She urged residents to get involved by participating in the contest, registering a booth at the Nov. 3 event, or by nominating people who have already made healthy changes in their life.
“. . . People have already embraced this message; they serve as an inspiration to the community, so that our other citizens can see that this is an easy thing,” Dr. Smith said. “It’s actually doable. We can each make these decisions every day.”
Participants were encouraged to lose at least 5 percent of their body weight. Their name will be entered into a drawing for every 5 percent of body weight loss, up to 20 percent, for a maximum of four entries.
Dr. Smith pointed out that having the emotional support of a team would ensure success.
“Having someone to hold you accountable and to encourage you along the way really makes it a lot easier to make healthy decisions,” she said.
FOR CURRENT PARTICIPANTS:
- Participants must be at least 18 years old at their initial weigh-in.
- Participants who are selected as a grand prize winner must live in the following East Texas counties: Smith, Gregg, Rusk, Cherokee, Anderson, Henderson, Rains, Van Zandt, Wood, Upshur, Camp, Morris, Titus, Franklin, Hopkins, Delta, Lamar, Red River, Bowie, Cass, Marion, Harrison, Panola, Shelby, Nacogdoches, Angelina, Sabine, San Augustine, Newton, Jasper, Tyler, Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity or Houston.
- The final weigh-in are scheduled for Monday, April 22 through Saturday, April 27.
- Participants must be weighed on a scale at one of the designated locations (view the Weighing Locations)
- Participants may join a team but only individuals can win grand prizes.
- Participants may be a member of a winning team and win one of the individual grand prizes.
- Participants will be entered into the random drawings for every 5 percent of body weight loss, up to 20 percent, for a maximum of four entries.
- Team prizes will be determined by the combined average of weight loss of all team members.
Updated Tuesday, April 9, 2013