Health & Fitness Column

KS governor announces weight loss challenge

By John Taylor | Dec 04, 2012
John Taylor

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback announces a Weight Loss Challenge for the 2013 legislative session. Because obesity has become an epidemic across the country, Brownback aims to encourage Kansans to be physically active and eat well.
The Weight Loss Challenge will run from January 15 through May 15, 2013, and Brownback will recruit a team of five state employees who will go head-to-head with other teams of five.
All state employees are eligible to participate in the Governor’s Weight Loss Challenge which offers monetary prizes to the winning team. The two State employee teams that lose the highest percentage of total starting weight will win these cash awards. Furthermore, state teams (not including 1st and 2nd place) that beat the Governor’s team will be entered in a drawing that will result in up to 10 additional teams winning prize money.
Non-State employee groups throughout Kansas are encouraged to participate in the Weight Loss Challenge and provide prizes for the winning teams and their organizations. Non-State groups conducting their own competition between employee teams are encouraged to use the tools provided on the Governor’s Weight Loss Challenge website to track the weight lost by teams from within their organizations to see how they compare to the Governor’s team.
The Governor’s office stated that participation by multiple state agencies along with private businesses will be critical to the success of the challenge, as well as raising awareness of the obesity epidemic.
Per contest rules, each team will designate a captain that will register the team name that will appear on the Weight Loss Challenge website. Weigh-ins will be recorded on the website by each team every two weeks following the initial weigh-in. For the winning State Employee teams, weights will be validated at the end of the contest period with an in-person weigh-in.
While I think this contest has worthwhile possibilities for encouraging weight loss through peer check-ins and accountability (and a financial incentive doesn’t hurt), I have this feeling that since the contest lasts for five months, there is going to be an awful lot of drop-offs in the contest.
I’d like to say I’m wrong, but I am assuming when individuals in the contest see their weight loss plateau ten weeks into the competition (which is bound to happen), many will get discouraged and return to their unhealthy ways.
As my fiancee will tell you, this is the only time in my life I really want to be wrong. If that occurs, I vow to issue a formal apology to the Kansas State Government, their employees, and to my fiancee...I don’t know why I’ll owe her one, but I’m sure I did something.
By the way, what’s the likelihood Governor Beverly Purdue makes a similar challenge? Would the politicians in Haywood County enter?
Mmm...stayed tuned for updates on this subject. We may be able to have ourselves in little weight loss competition of our own in the mountains.