Georgia: Hutcheson hopes to expand weight-loss program to public

Georgia: Hutcheson hopes to expand weight-loss program to public

March 5th, 2009 by Beverly Carroll in Georgia

With 42 pounds less under their collective belts, the "Phat Fannies" team is motivated about competing in the Hutcheson Medical Center's Get Fit program for employees.

"I've gone down a notch on my belt," said Jerry Jeffers, one of four members of the "Phat Fannies" team contending in the hospital's biggest loser contest. "Soon, we are going to become the 'Skinny Fannies.'"

About 300 Hutcheson employees signed up for Get Fit. The weight loss contest ends the last day of April.

Human resources director Jim Treglown said administrators plan to take the program public.

"Our end goal is to open this to the public, but we wanted to do this inhouse at first," Mr. Treglown said.

Organizers Britt Smith and nutritionist Donna Day rounded up prizes from area merchants for the team that loses the most weight, based on a percentage. But everyone who competes is a winner because of the healthy lifestyles they are adopting, Ms. Day said.

"Pounds are important, but I am hearing so many people tell me their blood pressure is down; their blood sugar is better," she said. "The benefits are amazing."

Hospital administrators said they sponsored the program because health care givers should be role models for healthy lifestyles.

"To have this many of our employees take responsibility for their own health shows we are aware of the health risks associated with obesity," said Charles Stewart, hospital president and CEO. "I can't praise them enough."

Employees have access to walking tracks indoors and out, and have begun walking or running in groups.

"Some people gave up snacking; some are giving up sodas," Ms. Day said. They are finding they can make small lifestyle changes and get results, Ms. Day said.