Community leaders, including Mayor Barbara Bass, officially kicked off this year’s Lighten Up East Texas contest Wednesday during a press conference. The contest is a regional weight loss challenge established by the Fit City Tyler Coalition. This is the second contest held by the group and organizers hope to capitalize on last year’s success.
The event will resemble last year’s challenge, but with a few new twists. It is being held at the beginning of the year to help individuals who have New Year’s resolutions.
It will be held at Broadway Square Mall on Friday.
From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday people may weigh in near the J.C. Penney entrance.
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, East Texans can weigh-in and visit informational booths. Weigh in locations and booths will be set up in five places throughout the mall, including the carpeted areas in front of J.C. Penney, Sears and center court.
Entrants who visit booths for health assessments and information on Saturday will be eligible for door prizes, donated by businesses within the mall. There will be a follow-up wellness fair on Feb. 1 at the mall, which also will present another opportunity to weigh in.
Additional weighing in locations and times are posted at www.lightenupeasttexas.com/registration/ .
Participants who have lost at least 5 percent of their weight will be entered into a drawing for a 2014 Dodge Dart, donated by Allen Samuels of Tyler. They may also be eligible to win a Brookshire’s gift card. The grocery company is donating $5,000 worth of gift cards. And new this year, participants who do not lose at least 5 percent of their body weight will be eligible for mini prize drawings.
Mayor Bass, an early supporter of Fit City Tyler, praised the event.
“This is all about a personal agenda for each and everyone,” she said. “It’s fun when you do it with friends. But it’s about just being a healthier person, having the energy to enjoy your friendships, enjoy your family enjoy your work environment just because you feel good.”
Representatives from Broadway Square Mall, Allen Samuel Tyler and Brookshire’s Grocery Company all expressed their support for Lighten Up East Texas and the overall mission of the Fit City Challenge.
“The timing of Lighten Up East Texas is great because you may have heard that we’ve announced the FRESH 15 — a 15k/5k race,” said Rebecca Sanders, public relations director at Brookshire’s. “It’s to take place on March 1 so what a great time. Right now you can start getting fit, get trained, work on weight loss, exercise and be ready for the 15K race that’s going to be right in the middle of this.”
George Roberts, chief executive officer of Northeast Texas Public Health District, said the emphasis has always been on reducing obesity and the chronic illness that accompanies it, as well as improving quality of life for East Texans.
He noted that 28 percent of Smith County residents are obese, and that two-thirds of the state is either overweight or obese.
The Fit City Challenge was created to unite more than 100 entities for solutions for a healthier community.
“We got together and really realized that obesity and sedentary lifestyle in our community is one of our foremost public health problems out there that you can consider,” Roberts said.
The coalition includes businesses, local government, hospitals, fitness clubs, restaurants, schools and non-profit agencies.
EXCEEDING A GOAL
Last November, 3,197 people weighed in for the first contest. There were 578 individuals weighing out, with a return rate of 18.08 percent. Overall, participants lost 4,321.65 pounds. Of those weighing out, 473, or 81.8 percent, recorded a weight loss.
The magic number this year is 5,210. Organizers hope to either recruit 5,210 East Texans into its newest weight loss challenge or garner a combined weight loss of 5,210 pounds.
The 5-2-1-0 represents another initiative of the Fit City Challenge, which encourages East Texas children to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables, limit screen time to two hours, get one hour of physical activity and drink zero sugary beverages each day.
The sponsors of this year’s campaign are:
Platinum sponsors ($10,000 level): Allen Samuels Tyler, Brookshire’s Grocery Co., the Tyler Morning Telegraph, the North East Texas Public Health District and the Van Zandt News.
Gold sponsors ($5,000 level): KYTX CBS19 and the city of Tyler.
Silver sponsors ($2,500 level): Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinic and the R.W. Fair Foundation.
AT&T is a $2,000 sponsor.
Bronze sponsors ($1,000 level): Tyler Junior College, Texas Spine & Joint Hospital and UT Health Northeast.
Copper sponsors ($500 level): East Texas Food Bank, East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind, the East Texas Council of Governments, East Texas Medical Center and the University of Texas at Tyler.