School program rewards weight loss

And rather than paying big bucks for pills or packaged meals, the faculty at a local elementary school decided to hold their own program.

"If they can stay consistent, stay right on track, everything should work out fine," said trainer Michael Allen.

Fitness trainer Michael Allen is talking about the faculty at Hollingworth Elementary School in West Covina.

"The eating and the working out is going to go hand in hand," said Allen.

At the first of the year Principal Miriam Kim thought it would be a motivating idea to get a group together to lose some weight. So she held a meeting to see if there was interest. Nearly the entire staff showed up.

"We realized we had a little too much fun over Christmas, gained a few extra pounds," said Principal Kim. "We thought, you know, let's think about doing something as a group. I think that only two people left."

In just two months, 29 people have lost 83 pounds collectively -- and they're still losing.

"We're talking about 2 to 3 percent each month, so it's really looking good, they're doing a good job," said Allen.

There's a once-a-month body-fat check, a weekly weigh-in with the nurse, walking the track twice weekly, and an optional kickboxing class held by a teacher. Trainer Allen provides healthy menu ideas to help faculty stay on top of their game.

Another bonus to slimming down? Money. Each staff member put $15 in the kitty at the first of the year.

"Everybody likes money, so at the end we're going to divide the kitty up three ways," said Principal Kim.

Cash awards will be awarded for the most pounds lost, the most inches lost, and the most body fat lost by mid-June, when school ends.

Health experts observe that on average after 12 weeks, those on diets and fitness programs tend to lose interest, but having group support helps keep many on target.

And of course Principal Kim says jokingly, the money helps.

"You can never be too rich or too thin!" said Principal Kim.

To find out more about how the faculty is fighting fat:

Rowland Unified School District

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