Obesity is a growing problem in this country. But officials at the Westlake Recreation Department hope its weight-loss challenge program will help Westlakers buck the national trend.
Now in its second year, Westlake Weighs Down offers corporate teams as well as individuals a chance to slim down.
During the 13-week program, the rec center has reserved one hour a week – Thursdays at noon – for an exercise class for participants to attend. Competitors can attend the class or work out on their own schedule.
Anne Mitchell, the rec center’s fitness manager, said the program often provides the incentive some people need to lose weight and eat healthier.
“It’s really about creating an atmosphere where people are thinking about healthy lifestyles,” she said. “It might be that little spark to get them off the couch.”
While the competition kicked off yesterday, there’s still time to sign up.
Winners are determined based on the percentage of weight lost as measured at official weigh-ins taken during the program.
Last year’s individual female winner, Joan Szabo, lost 12.44 percent of her body weight. The individual male winner, David Bivin, lost 15.23 percent.
Bob DeMinico, the rec center manager, said even people who don’t have a significant weight problem may want to sign up to maintain a healthy body.
“We want people to start thinking about being active and making healthy food choices,” he said.
Among the participants is Mayor Dennis Clough, a regular at the rec center, according to DeMinico. Clough told West Life his goal is to lose 20 to 25 pounds.
In 2010, 116 individuals participated. Many signed up in pairs to motivate each other, DeMinico noted.
“Some people who are in the challenge may just be the wingman for the person looking to lose the weight,” Mitchell said.
The fee for individuals to participate is $10 and includes a T-shirt. A rec center membership is not required.
Eleven corporate teams, consisting of 500 people, participated last year. Each company paid $50 to participate, with $40 going to a fund to be donated to a local charity. Teams from Hyland Software and Orthopedic Associates tied by losing 4.58 percent of their team’s body weight. They both agreed the money would go to The Gathering Place, a local resource center for those battling cancer.
For more information on the program, call the Westlake Recreation Center at (440) 808-5700.