Second healthy challenge brings transformations, lifestyle commitments
by Cindy Abole
Eighty Lowcountry residents gathered at MUSC Harper Student Wellness
Center auditorium on Nov. 20 to celebrate a loss. The group, which has
been meeting weekly since Sept. 11, cumulatively lost a total of
1,479.2 pounds as part of the 10-week 2008 Fall MUSC Healthy Charleston
Challenge sponsored by MUSC and other community business sponsors.
And with that loss in pounds and inches was the group’s gain in the
understanding of a healthy and active lifestyle, and renewed confidence
as they continue in their journey toward lifelong wellness.
Their efforts are part of the second Healthy Charleston Challenge
program sponsored by MUSC since January. The first program, which
occurred from January to March, resulted in more than 80 participants
losing 1,500.6 pounds.
“We continue to see amazing results and transformations with this
program,” said Janis Newton, program director, MUSC Harper Student
Wellness Center and Challenge director. “With the Healthy Charleston
Challenge, we’ve created the right formula to help people achieve
success in their weight loss goals through accountability, teamwork and
education. Once again, it’s been a wonderful experience for everyone.”
Teams were sponsored by area businesses including MUSC Weight
Management Center, Charleston County Parks and Recreation (CCPR),
Access Healthcare—downtown and Mount Pleasant, Jason’s Deli, Joe D.
Bands, The Culinary Institute of Charleston at Trident Technical
College (TTC, Charleston Fit Quest and Adventure Team Works.
Winners in the fall challenge were revealed in multiple categories. For
the second time in a row, MUSC Boot Camp, sponsored by the Culinary
Institute of Charleston at TTC, took first place with a combined weight
loss of 202.4 pounds and 10.68 percent body fat loss.Their trainer was
Sgt. Ben McKee of the U.S. Marine Corps. Second place went to Anderson
Insurance with 160.2 pound weight loss and 10.46 percent body fat
loss. Katie St. Clair was their fitness trainer. Leo Windham of Team
Access Healthcare-Mount Pleasant boasted the top individual weight loss
(male) with 46.4 pounds and 18.28 percent body weight loss. Team Access
Healthcare-Downtown’s Melissa Guggisberg lost the most weight, 40.2,
among females. Also, Fran Shuler, Team Charleston County Parks, was
recognized as the top percentage body weight winner with 18.65
First and second place team winners received prize packages. Overall
team winners, Boot Camp, each won a pair of CCPR gold passes, $100 cash
from Anderson Insurance Company, and dinner from The Culinary Institute
of Charleston (TTC). For second place, members of the Anderson
Insurance team also received a pair of CCPR gold passes, and $50 cash
from Jason’s Deli.
The fall challenge featured 10 teams of eight men and women who
committed themselves to this life-changing weight loss program, which
focuses on healthy food choices, nutrition and exercise. The program
supports statewide health prevention efforts established in 2005 by
Gov. Mark and Jenny Sanford called the Healthy S.C. Challenge, an
education and outcome-based awareness campaign designed to improve the
health of South Carolinians and combat adult obesity through the
promotion of active and healthy lifestyles.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently ranked South
Carolina seventh in the country for its population of obese adults.
About 28.4 percent of S.C. adults were obese in 2007, compared to the
national average of 25.6 percent. According to a S. C. Department of
Health and Environmental Control report, physical activity costs the
state about $4.6 billion in medical care, workers compensation and lost
productivity each year, with an average of about $1,466 per person.
An important resource for the fall challenge included the partnership
of mentors on challenge teams. Mentors are individuals who completed
the first Charleston Healthy Challenge in March and served as
counselors/coaches for individuals participating in the program.
Additionally, HCC participated in their own weekly weight loss
competition among themselves. In total, they succeeded in a combined
weight loss of 180.8 pounds. Boot Camp’s Steve Walker recorded the top
weight loss of 28.2 pounds.
“I can’t thank the mentors enough for their help, dedication and
example to others,” said Newton. “They’re part of the reason this
program is a success because each of them has proven that they’re
remaining active and still losing weight more than eight months later.”
HCC results continue to impress success. Almost all participants in the
challenge lost weight and all participants lost inches and body fat.
Sixty-four participants lost more than 10 pounds and 29 people
lost more than 20 pounds. Four people lost more than 40 pounds; and
nine people lost more than 30 pounds.
Each team was assigned a personal fitness trainer, mentors and a
team-appointed captain. Teams also relied on the professional support
and guidance of a program registered dietitian, Judith Herrin, clinical
psychologist, Josh Brown, Ph.D., and program physician, David
Albenberg, M.D. Participants and mentors took part in weekly weigh-ins,
education lectures and scheduled group fitness activity.
Other winners include (top weight loss) Daniel Gross, Fit Quest, 43.8
pounds; Ben Weinstein, Boot Camp 41.4 pounds; and Rick Farthing, Boot
Camp, 39.2 pounds. Top percentage body weight loss winners were: Selena
Kaufman,15.32 percent; Rick Farthing,14.86 percent and Nick Clekis,
Nov. 28, 2008