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Teachers vie for Biggest Loser title

January 11, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

INWOOD, W.Va. -- Judy Glascock readily admits she's not getting any younger, but the 45-year-old special education aide at Musselman High School is still aiming to be big loser -- of weight -- this spring.

"My goal is one pound at a time," said Glascock, who is taking part in a weight-loss competition launched last week by the school's wellness coordinator, Brian C. Kleppner.

Loosely based on the NBC reality weight-loss competition "The Biggest Loser," Kleppner said the 26, two-member teams who are taking part in his version of the program have a chance to win cash, and health- and fitness-related prizes.

The competition began Thursday with a "weigh-in" and the winners at a final "weigh-in" on April 2 will receive 60 percent of $1,560 in entry fees, Kleppner said. The second-place team will receive 20 percent of the money, and another 10 percent will be given to the team that keeps off the weight lost by April 2 and/or loses even more by May 29, Kleppner said.

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In addition to the team cash prizes, Kleppner said he will award individuals because some participants might not "pull their own weight, per se."

"I'm putting up a scoreboard in the teacher's lounge," Kleppner said.

He's also dishing out recipes, and other helpful fitness and health suggestions.

Nancy Benton, a nurse and Musselman alumni, volunteered to chart each employee's percentage of weight lost at periodic, early morning weigh-ins at the school.

"The students know the teachers are doing this ... and maybe it will trickle down," Benton said.

With West Virginia being one of the most obese states, Benton said more promotion of health and fitness needs to be done to help reduce the "astounding" number of young people who are overweight.

Kleppner said he received a number of business contributions, including donated fitness center use by Gold's Gym in Martinsburg, W.Va., and Total Fitness and Tanning in Inwood.

"My goal is not to have to do (this competition) again," Kleppner said. "The goal is to make lifestyle changes."

Though the prize money would be nice, Glascock believes the group support from her teammate, Darla Rutherford, and others in the competition will help her lose weight, her ultimate goal.

"My co-workers are just the best," Glascock said.

Her husband's recovery from liver transplant surgery last year when he was "hanging on by a thread" has been a motivating force, too.

"I've got to keep up with him," Glascock said, laughing.

Kleppner, who was hoping to have 15 or 20 people sign up for the program after he announced it at a faculty meeting in December, was surprised by the turnout.

"I'm really interested to see the grand total of how many pounds we did lose," Kleppner said.

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