With New Year’s resolutions starting to fade, the Food Bank of Yolo County’s winter fundraiser and fitness challenge couldn’t come at a better time of year.
“WEIGH TO GO! Fitness and Weight Loss Challenge” helps Yolo County residents lose weight in an eight-week program – and fundraises for the food bank. Participants find supporters who sponsor $1 per pound lost. The challenge began this weekend and will continue until March 20.
Jose Martinez, executive director of the Food Bank of Yolo County, said the local organization was inspired by the success of other fitness programs such as the NBC television show “The Biggest Loser” and the nationwide organization Feeding America’s “Pound for Pound Challenge.”
“[WEIGH TO GO!] is a way to get the public engaged and involved and participate without [spending a lot of] extra time,” Martinez said. “People can do this all from home.”
At press time, over 20 people had signed up for the program through online registration, said Martinez.
“Really, part of the goal is to get people to seriously look at their own health situation,” he said.
A recent statistic pushed the local charity to do something about weight and food issues in Yolo County and create the food bank’s first ever fitness challenge.
The California Food Policy Advocates compiled various source’s statistics to create a county-by-county report for 2008 and found 55 percent of Yolo County adults are obese. Yolo County is doing better than California’s overall 56 percent obesity rate in adults. Out of 58 California counties, Yolo is ranked 44 in terms of obesity and still needs to teach people about healthy lifestyles.
“It’s better to start younger,” said Kumar Chandran, nutrition policy advocate for CFPA. “Because once one gains weight, difficult habits are engrained.” To help people shed pounds over the next few months, local sponsors are offering incentives to help participants reach their goals and raise money for the food bank. In Davis, the Davis Athletic Club is offering a trial membership for $39 during the eight-week period. They are also offering three personal training sessions for the reduced total price of $99, said Jan Robinson, DAC finance manager and group exercise coordinator. Similarly, Woodland’s Cross Court Athletic Club is offering a temporary membership with full use of the facility and once-a-week meetings with a personal trainer for $98. “We got involved with [WEIGH TO GO!] because we think it is a great program,” said Suzee Naff, Cross Court Athletic Club operations manager. “It’s a great idea.” Registration for the challenge is on-going and sign-ups can be found on the Food Bank of Yolo County’s web site, foodbankyc.org.
SASHA LEKACH can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.