the Challenge, participants gained access to programs and fitness centers
throughout the city for little or no cost. These programs were designed to help individuals learn to eat well,
lose weight, get fit and prevent Type 2 diabetes. A variety of prizes were
donated by local businesses to be awarded to the teams and individuals
with the highest percentage of weight loss. The Challenge was a way to
call attention to already existing programs, to teach and encourage a
healthy lifestyle, and to encourage people to change habits that were
destructive to their health. Businesses and social groups were challenged
to form teams to compete and support one another.
offered included low cost personal training, discount use of fitness
facilities (CDREC Family Fitness Center and Boys and Girls club
pool/fitness room), exercise classes (Zumba, Power to Move, Kickboxing,
Aerobics and Yoga) a diabetes support group, nutrition classes, monthly
team challenges (seven hills challenge, tug-o-war, dodge ball, etc.), and
the opportunity to win prizes ranging from “Healthy City” certified
restaurant gift certificates to weekend getaways.
the Fall River Fitness Challenge was issued at a public press conference
in January, 2008, the program initiated a huge response, with 1,015
participants coming on board. New fitness classes were added to
accommodate the large number of participants. During the four-month course
of the first year's program, individuals lost a total of 3,180lbs. The winner of
the challenge lost 23% of his body weight (89lbs). The team winners
collectively lost 8.2% of their initial body weight. Fifty-five teams were enrolled, including five elementary
schools, thee middle schools, and groups from school administration, the
post office, community health centers and other local organizations. A
personal/group training session was held each night at Community
Development Recreation. There were 40 people each week in the
aerobics classes, 70 people in 2 the DAI’s Power to Move classes, 65
participants each week in the Zumba! classes, and even more participating
in yoga, kickboxing and other classes.
media followed the progress of the challenge
process very closely as well as interviewed individual participants.
Participants were tracked in a central data base and through bimonthly
weigh-ins. Many individuals with diabetes attended the support groups at
the Diabetes Association Inc, where they receive valuable education,
support, and self-management education. When surveyed, 96% of respondents
said that they would participate in a challenge again and 72.6% joined as
part of a team.
Challenge culminated in a final fitness rally on May 10 and the award of prizes for the largest percent of weight loss in the
male, female and team categories. With over 150 people in attendance, an
overall sense of camaraderie and support filled the room as the winners
received a standing ovation for the incredible achievements.
Congratulations form the celebrity guests, mayor and other public
personalities rounded out the day.