Locals part of Scale Back Alabama

Published 8:36 pm Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It’s time once again for Scale Back Alabama, the 10-week weight-loss contest that runs from January through April. The two closest weigh-in sites are the Chilton County Health Department and Billingsley School.

Amy Cleckler, nutritionist at the health department, said people have until Friday to do their initial weigh-in. She said people of all ages are participating.

“The age range has been just all over the place,” Cleckler said. “Participating in Scale Back Alabama is a good way to jump start your New Year’s resolutions.”

Thus far, about eight Scale Back teams have weighed in at the health department. At least one of those teams was formed by department employees.

In order to form a team, four people 18 or older must commit to the program and set a weight loss goal. Teams may be formed by businesses, families or any organization.

Billingsley School Nurse Wendy Glasscock expects about 15 teams to form by the end of this week.

“We’re weighing in all week,” she said. “We’ve opened it up to anyone in the community.”

Last year, Billingsley Principal Van Smith, Assistant Principal Ann Glasscock and other faculty members participated. Several are reportedly participating again this year, including Glasscock.

“It was very motivating last year,” Glasscock said. “Scale Back Alabama motivated me to get physically active just because everyone around me was doing it also.”

The program focuses on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as foods that are low in fat and carbohydrates. It also encourages people to exercise at least 30 minutes per day at a moderate pace.

It is recommended that participants lose about 1 pound per week. In order for a team to be eligible for certain prizes, each team member must lose at least 10 pounds.

“It’s not really about weight loss. It’s about lifestyle change,” Glasscock said, adding that obesity increases the risk of diabetes, hypertension and cardiac disease.

“That’s one of the reasons why Alabama is participating in this,” she said.

Team members can keep a journal of their experience. Participants are also encouraged to visit the nearest weigh-in site to monitor their weight once a week.

April 16 is the last day to weigh out.

Scale Back Alabama is hosted by Alabama hospitals and the Alabama Department of Public Health, and is supported by Barber’s Dairies and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. For more information, call the Chilton County Health Department at 755-1287, Billingsley School at 755-1629 or visit www.scalebackalabama.com.