The "Lose a Ton in 2001" fitness campaign, co-sponsored by McLeod Regional Medical Center and McLeod Health and Fitness Center, more than tripled its stated goal when some 2,500 participants collectively shed more than 7,000 pounds.
The centers' Florence, S.C.-based service area has the nation's highest per-capita rate of heart disease and stroke; 25% of residents suffer from cardiovascular disease, the area's No. 1 killer, closely followed by stroke and diabetes. These statistics, closely tied to obesity, led the medical and fitness centers to collaborate on "Lose a Ton," which received honorable mention in the Spirit of Excellence Award for Community.
Participants formed teams with family members and others in the community, and kept one another on track to exercise regularly, attend educational programs and lose weight wisely. The fitness center offered free exercise classes on the first Saturday of each month.
"It was inspiration through camaraderie," says Jumana Swindler, director of marketing and public relations at McLeod Health. "It engaged folks in a discussion with other people (who had) the same sort of processes in their own lives that prevented them from doing the right thing."