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West Georgians Lose 3,200 lbs. in Weight Loss Challenge

May 27, 2014

Hundreds of West Georgia residents celebrated a personal health victory at this year’s Mayfest. The Get Healthy West Georgia 2014 Weight Loss Challenge marked its grand finale with a Big Reveal awards ceremony at the community festival in Carrollton on May 3.

Justin Richards won the individual category for men's highest weight loss percentage. Richards shed an astonishing 21.23 percent of his total weight during the 12-week challenge.

An enthusiastic crowd gathered under Tanner Health System’s Get Healthy, Live Well tent for the announcement of the challenge winners.

Since the kickoff in January, participants across West Georgia have been tracking their weight, food intake and exercise with the tools provided through Get Healthy West Georgia’s website. A total of 1,738 residents of Carroll, Haralson and Heard counties weighed in at the start of the 12-week challenge, and 70 teams of up to 10 members joined the challenge together.

Participants earned points by logging exercise and food intake, blogging and participating in weekly challenges. Members also earned points by competing in local walking and running events and by attending Tanner’s Healthy for Life class series. More than 500 people have attended the classes at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton this spring.

The weight loss challenge hosted final weigh-ins during the last week of April, with 414 people recording their official weights. The combined total weight loss during the challenge period was 3,205 pounds. That is an average weight loss of 7.7 pounds per person.

Evidence shows that losing just 5 to 10 pounds can dramatically reduce a person’s risk for serious health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, elevated cholesterol, sleep apnea, dementia and cancer. The individuals who successfully completed the challenge have made great strides toward improving their health and enhancing their quality of life.

Individual Winners

The challenge recognized male and female winners in two categories: those who earned the most points in the challenge and those who lost the highest percentage of their body weight. The man with the highest number of points was John Crosby, who earned a total of 5,276 points. Crosby also won the men’s points category in 2013, and has been a devoted participant in the challenge since its inception. With 13,792 points, Krista Carnes won the women’s points category.

The women who lost the highest percentage of their body weight are:

  • Kristina Wickman-Danson (13.6 percent weight lost)
  • Jennifer Butts (13.57 percent weight lost)
  • Debra Clefisch (13.07 percent weight lost)

The men who lost the highest percentage of their body weight are:

  • Justin Richards (21.23 percent weight lost)
  • Matt Young (20.85 percent weight lost)
  • Jeff Davis (18.5 percent weight lost)

The first place winners in each individual category received a Fitbit Flex and prizes donated from GNC.

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Placing children into a mixed reality-part virtual environment and part real world-has great potential for increasing their physical activity and decreasing their risk of obesity, according to University of Georgia researchers.

Sixty-one Georgia 4-H'ers, 9-12 years old, participated in a study designed to increase awareness and reduce childhood obesity. Participants set goals for the amount of physical activity they wanted to complete throughout the day over a course of three days. An activity monitor was worn to track their activity.