The incentives for the contest — which will kick off Nov. 3 at Bergfeld Park—include a grand prize, a 2013 Dodge Dart, provided by Allen Samuels Dodge. Participants also will have chances to win fitness packages, trips, hotel stays and Brookshire’s gift cards.
Speakers noted that the 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.”
Brookshire’s, along with Allen Samuels Dodge, is one of the six 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, will donate 2,000 T-shirts, and all participants who weigh in on Nov. 3 will receive one.
Northeast Texas Health Public Health District, the City of Tyler and the Tyler Morning Telegraph are also platinum-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.”
She urged residents to get involved by participating in the contest, registering a booth at the Nov. 3 event, or by nominating people who already have made healthy changes in their life.
“We would like to give some Fit City inspirational awards on Nov. 3 for people who have already embraced this message; to hold up 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 those decisions every day.”
Participants are 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.
Fit City coalition members are developing a committee of health care professionals to guide participants who need advice or help losing weight.
More information, including eligibility rules, how to register a team and weigh-in dates and sites is available at www.lightenupeasttexas.com.