(WTVM) - Officials with the Alabama Hospital Association, the Alabama Department of Public Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama kicked off the state's largest weight-loss program.
The program titled "Scale Back Alabama" is a free program designed to address the state's obesity problem.
This is the ninth year of the program and it has resulted in thousands of Alabamians losing more than one million pounds.
"While there are lots of great local programs designed to help Alabamians get fit, Scale Back Alabama is probably the only free, statewide program," Rosemary Blackmon said, Executive Vice President of the Alabama Hospital Association.
"It's a great way for our hospitals to encourage healthier lifestyles rather than treat the effects of unhealthy living."
The 2015 program has been redesigned based on feedback from previous participants and local coordinators.
Anyone 18 and older can now participate in teams of two, rather than teams of four.
You may go online to register starting Jan. 6.
Once registered, participants must go to an official weigh-in site during the week of Jan. 19 – 25 to have an initial weigh in.
Each week participants will receive health tips from a panel of experts. At the end of the contest, the names of all individuals and teams who lose at least 10 pounds (one pound a week) will be placed in a drawing for cash prizes.
'Individuals who are obese have a much higher likelihood of having heart disease and of having a stroke," Dr. Donald Williamson said, State Health Officer.
"And with 32 percent of our citizens considered obese, we're bound to continue to have bad health outcomes unless something changes. Scale Back Alabama is an important public awareness effort that we believe is changing lives."
Scale Back Alabama is sponsored by the Alabama Hospital Association and the Alabama Department of Public Health, in partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama.
For more information, visit www.scalebackalabama.com.