For Immediate Release
November 27, 2012

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

Governor Brownback announces team weight loss challenge

Topeka - Kansas Governor Sam Brownback announced today a team weight loss challenge to encourage Kansans to get healthier and work together in reducing the state's obesity rate.  The Governor's Weight Loss Challenge will run from Jan. 15 to May 15, 2013.

“Nationwide – and in Kansas - more than 2/3 of adults and almost 1/3 of children are overweight or obese.  My hope is that the Governor's Weight Loss Challenge will encourage everyone to work together to make our state healthier,” Governor Brownback.  “I am challenging teams of five people to compete against my team of five to lose the most percentage weight, with the ultimate goal of taking on and maintaining a healthier lifestyle for years to come."

The Challenge will award monetary prizes to teams comprised of people employed by the State of Kansas, including those in the Kansas Legislative and Judicial branches.  Governor Brownback will recruit four members of his Cabinet to make his team of five, which will be announced in December when teams can begin signing up for the competition.

Additionally, the Governor invites non-state employee groups like businesses and municipalities to accept his weight loss challenge by recruiting their own teams and providing incentives for a team competition to run concurrent with the Governor's Weight Loss Challenge.

Kansas Health and Environment Secretary Robert Moser, M.D., who is also the State Health Officer, said the obesity rate in Kansas is near the national average, adding that obesity among Kansas adults increased from 15 percent in 1995 to 30.1 percent from 1995 to 2010.  Obesity is associated with health conditions and diseases like congestive heart failure, diabetes and cancer.

"Together, poor nutrition and physical inactivity is now considered the number two preventable cause of death, behind tobacco use,” Dr. Moser said.  “There are many programs statewide that directly or indirectly support obesity prevention, and it's in our homes and local communities where the greatest work to combat obesity can be achieved. The Governor's Weight Loss Challenge can help Kansans kick start their exercise routine and new eating habits while taking part in ongoing state- and local-level fitness and nutrition programs."

Prizes will be award to the top two state employee team that lose the greatest total percentage of weight between Jan. 15 and May 15, 2013.  All State employee teams (not including 1st and 2nd place) that beat Governor Brownback’s team will be entered in a drawing for additional prizes.

"I encourage State employees to start teaming up for this challenge and begin reviewing the information at our Weight Loss Challenge website for ways to lose weight healthfully," Governor Brownback said.  "We all want to find ways to be more active and eat a more nutritious diet in order to reduce our risk for diseases associated with being overweight and obese."

A web-based tool will be used to track the progress of each team in the State of Kansas weight loss competition. It also will be available for any non-state group that joins the Challenge; however, non-state groups will not eligible for the prizes in the Governor’s Weight Loss Challenge.

Teams can begin registering on Monday, Dec. 17th at www.weightloss.ks.gov.