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April 11, 2012 Volume 33, No. 27

Slimdown competition challenges Columbia to shed the weight


Challenge weighs the benefits of maintaining a healthy body weight

Missouri is “waisting” away. State stomachs have bulged to an unprecedented level in the past decade; 31.4 percent of Missourians and 27.4 percent of Boone County citizens are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Tiger Institute for Health Innovation wants to help Missourians slim down by overseeing the first Columbia Slimdown Challenge, a weight- loss program modeled on a health challenge created by Cerner Corp.

Similar to the NBC reality show The Biggest Loser, the competition challenges four- to six-person teams to lose the greatest percentage of weight over a 12-week period beginning May 1. 

“We encourage anyone to join, even if you don’t think you have weight to lose,” said Rachel Lassiter, marketing coordinator of Tiger Institute. “I personally joined a team to get myself in the habit of going to the gym on a regular basis.”  

Participants keep track of their weight at eight scales located in public places around Columbia. MU football coach Gary Pinkel, basketball coach Frank Haith and athletic director Mike Alden will help kick off the entry weigh-ins at 7:30 a.m. April 23 at the Hy-Vee South, 405 E. Nifong Blvd., weigh-in kiosk.

Participants have an opportunity to win $50,000 in prizes, including a boot camp training course at Wilson’s Fitness Center, restaurant gift cards, a Kindle Fire and a FitBit device that records steps taken, distance walked, calories burned and sleeping patterns.

The team and three individuals who lose the greatest overall percentage of weight will receive the grand prize: tickets to MU’s first game as an SEC team against the Georgia Bulldogs.

Lassiter said the competition could lead to more partnerships in local community health outreach.

“It’s about what we can do together to offer health programs to the community at large,” Lassiter said.

Registration begins April 16. For more information, visit

— Trevor Eischen