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Hundreds sign up for weight loss campaign

Hundreds of area residents lined up Friday afternoon to committo battle the bulge for the next 10 weeks.

A local partnership between King’s Daughters Medical Center andMississippi State University Extension Service is sponsoring acommunitywide effort to lose weight during the next few months.

“There were more people than we ever imagined,” said JenniferJackson, KDMC director of public relations.

Participants registered, weighed and received information on the10-week Battle of the Bulge program at the KDMC Health Fair onFriday.

One hundred thirty-two teams signed up and 788 people weighedin, Jackson said.

“We’re having to rethink everything logistically,” she said.

Hospital employees were asked to weigh in at a later timebecause of the long lines, Jackson said. She estimated more than100 employees have yet to weigh in and added that the phones hadnot stopped ringing this morning with people who still want toweigh in.

“We’re going to have an alternative weigh-in day on Jan. 31 forthose that signed up on a team and were unable to weigh on Friday,”she said, indicating no new teams will be formed.

April Williford and a few of her Lucious Losers teammates metFriday at the hospital to weigh-in. “I want to lose weight andlearn to eat healthy. I want to look good at 40,” she said.

Kathy Johnson, also a member of the Lucious Losers, said shewanted to “look sexier.” Johnson said she wanted to lose at least20 pounds during the next 10 weeks – more if she could – whileWilliford said she would be content with 10 to 20 pounds.

The Battle of the Bulge program encourages participants to loseno more than one to two pounds per week.

Both women expressed their desire to start working out andeating healthier.

Dolly Rials, of the Sugar Mamas team, said she would like tolose 50 pounds. Her team was among several that had colorfulT-shirts made. The back of the shirts read “It’s not over til thefat woman’s thin.”

Among other colorful team names: Heifers in Motion, DietingDivas, Fat Whackers, Fat Cats, Desperados and Care-a-lots.

While some teams are made up of friends, family and co-workers,others came together by accident.

The Care-a-lots team was formed while waiting in line to weighin. Lori Burnett, captain of the team, said she “got volunteered tobe the leader” of the five-person team.

Jackson said the men and women are all coming together. “Thishas touched the entire community,” she said. “We have all agegroups.”

The Battle of the Bulge program includes weekly educationalmeetings, which at least one member of each team is required toattend. Jackson said this morning that noon meetings will be heldat KDMC’s educational building but will be limited to 45 people.Evening meetings will be held at a still-undetermined site.

“I’m so excited so many wanted to join,” said Jackson, addingthat the response was phenomenal.

Jackson said there will be another weigh in at the midpoint ofthe program and a final weigh in around April 7 and 8. There willalso be a celebration at the end of the program, she said.

“We’re looking for a place to accommodate this amount ofpeople.”

Jackson said she wants to encourage businesses that have teamssigned up to think about sponsoring prizes for the celebration.

A captain’s meeting is scheduled for Jan. 31. Jackson urged allteam captains to attend the meeting.