Russell Springs Elementary School faculty and staff formed a Biggest Loser Club in January, immediately after the holidays.
All thirty contestants had the same goal - to lose weight! Each person that joined the club paid $20. At the end of ten weeks the person loosing the most weight would win $450.
Thirty faculty and staff joined the group and attended weekly nutrition classes taught by Pam York, Family and Consumer Science Agent with the Russell County Cooperative Extension Service and Shirley Robertson, Russell County Health Educator with Russell County Health Department.
Classes were held immediately after school adjourned for the day with a different topic being discussed each week. Examples of topics covered during the ten week program include the following: Want to Lose Weight, feel full on fewer calories, exercise to control weight, portion control, cooking for a better weigh, dine out the smart weigh and smart snacking.
The group lost a total of 300 pounds at the conclusion of the program. The first place winner, Glenda Prater, lost 32.5 pounds and graciously shared the $450 pot of money with Bridgett Kean, 2nd place winner with $150, Elaine Collins, 3rd place winner earned $100 and Loretta Cherry, 4th place winner took home $50.
This is what Glenda Prater, winner of the contest, had to say about the program. “In January 2008 I found myself overweight and out of shape physically. I decided to join the Biggest Loser Club at Russell Springs Elementary and when I stepped on the scales that first weigh in day they told me what I already knew.
“I was dangerously over weight and had several holidays’ worth of weight to lose. My first goal was to begin cooking healthier for my family and to begin eating a normal serving size of food, Prater continued. “At our weekly loser meeting Miss Shirley and Miss Pam really helped me with this as they gave us numerous handouts of information.
“My next goal was to work on my physical wellness. I added moderate exercise to my busy schedule by walking 15 minutes a day three to four days a week. I also began weight training three days a week. I continued to increase the length of my walking each day and added weight training every day. The last weigh in was fast approaching and everyone was working really hard,” she said.
“There was a buzz in the building as everyone made their predictions on how things would end. The big question was who would be first, second and third. I was so nervous that last weigh in. I knew I had worked hard and now the time had come to face the scale one more time."
She said she was thrilled and surprised when I stepped on the scale and it showed a total weight loss of 32.5 pounds with a body weight percentage loss of 14.41.
“I can’t thank Miss Shirley and Miss Pam enough for all their support, encouragement and the treats they shared with us along the way,” Prater said. “This is only the beginning of a healthier, happy lifestyle for me. I am a Loser!”
The second place winner, Bridget Kean lost 32 pounds during the ten week contest.
“For me personally this has been a life changing experience. I have lost 32 pounds and dropped three sizes in clothes,” Kean said. “I have more energy and am more active now. I would have never had the will power to do this on my own. In the beginning, I was mainly being competitive and wanted to win the money, but once I started seeing the pounds come off it became more personal. I did end up winning $150.00 which will all have to go for new clothes, but my new look and my new outlook on life is a far better prize than any amount of money could every compare to.”
Fourth place winner, Loretta Cherry lost 19 pounds.
“I had surgery three years ago that limited me on certain exercises, or so I felt. Therefore I kept gaining weight,” Loretta said. When I heard of The Biggest Loser Contest beginning I had to ponder whether or not to join. After a few days I decided that I was determined to lose weight. I was wearing a size 16 to 18. I am a petite person and that was just too much weight for me. I lost 19 pounds and wear a size 12. In closing, we are what we eat and our body is God’s temple, so let’s take care of it.” Another contestant of the program, Ruth Rexroat, shared how the program impacted her life.
“During the contest from January to April I lost 16.5 pounds. But even more important to my health than my weight loss, I discovered I had high blood pressure,” Rexroat said. “At our weekly weigh-ins Nurse Melinda and Nurse Bridgett periodically did other screenings such as blood pressure, sugar levels and height. After my initial blood pressure check which was very high, they kept a close watch on it and recommended that I go to a doctor for further tests. "Presently I am on medication and my blood pressure is under control. Who knows what might have happened if not for our Biggest Loser Contest!”
According to The Health of Kentucky: a County Assessment, compiled by the Kentucky Institute of Medicine, approximately 30% of Russell County citizens are obese. Lifestyle and behavioral risk factors contribute greatly to the onset of the chronic diseases that are the leading causes of death for Kentuckians.
Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in Kentucky with diabetes being the sixth leading cause of death. Kentucky women’s death rate from cardiovascular disease is higher than the national average and Kentucky’s youth are more at risk than youth nationwide for developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease due to unhealthy lifestyles.
Nearly two-thirds of all Americans are either overweight or obese according to the Center for Disease Control. Kentucky ranks as the 5th heaviest in the nation. Furthermore, 17% of children ages 2, 3 and 4 are already overweight. An overweight three-year-old is nearly eight times as likely to become an overweight young adult.
For more information on upcoming educational programs to help combat obesity and chronic disease contact Pam York at the Russell County Extension Office at 866-4477 or Shirley Robertson at 343-2181.
The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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