Community members lose 900 pounds in Mayor's weight loss challenge
Oak Creek mayor plans to continue program, which saw nearly 600 participants
Oak Creek - Residents of the city and its surrounding communities are 900 pounds lighter thanks to Mayor Stephen Scaffidi's weight loss challenge.
The challenge, which started Nov. 10 and ended Feb. 16, saw nearly 600 participants attend 16 weight loss and diet informational sessions.
While the event fell just shy of the 1,000-pound weight loss goal, organizers believe the fact that only 24 percent of participants weighed in kept them from reaching the true number. Scaffidi met his goal of losing 20 pounds five days past the Feb. 16 deadline.
The two winners of the challenge lost a combined 89 pounds. The top three winning teams, For Friends, TOPS and the Mayor's team respectively, lost upward of 5 percent body fat each.
"One of the biggest things that people say to me is that we don't do enough things in the community," Scaffidi said. "With this, we can establish bonds between people who don't normally associate with each other. We can get people to share a lot of interests. Those are what drive a strong community."
While many of the goals centered on pure pounds lost, the city also hosted nutrition information sessions and an informal walk and talk with the mayor.
A continued challenge
The organizers, while acknowledging that they barely missed their goals, were pleased with the turnout and participation of residents. They plan on not only continuing the weight loss challenge next year with an earlier start date but branching out into other community programs.
Scaffidi is ready to jump into the challenge with another weight loss pledge. This time it will be 15 pounds by Jan. 2nd of 2014.
Leslie Flynn, health coach and event organizer, hosted an informational event on sugar's impact on health as part of the challenge. She said that she received a lot of positive feedback and is already thinking of ways to improve next year's challenge.
She added that many community members wanted a similar session aimed toward kids and that she's eager to conduct more sessions for next year's challenge.
Another community involvement program Scaffidi wants to start is centered around cleaning up garbage problem areas voted on by community members. He plans to create a community volunteer organization partnered with local businesses that go out sometime around Earth Day on April 22 to clean up.
"I think that the job of a mayor is to build a strong community, not just conduct meetings and balance a budget," Scaffidi said. "It's getting people involved and wanting to live here and it will help drive businesses and help the general quality of life in Oak Creek. These kinds of things are what any leader of any city should do. I want a better city and want people to be involved in it."
By the numbers
899 Pounds lost
Community united under health
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