Local Health Challenge To Kick Off

ST. MARYS — With the arrival of the new year, area residents may again choose to compete in an annual competition while working toward a healthier lifestyle.

The Grand Health Challenge and Grand Health Family Challenge, organized by The Evening Leader and the Wapakoneta Daily News in conjunction with Joint Township District Memorial Hospital, are both set to return, as weigh ins being on Jan. 3.

"We were so inspired by the success of the adult challenge, we are offering it again this year, in addition to the family weight loss challenge called the Grand Health Family Challenge," Anne Larger, community outreach coordinator at Joint Township District Memorial Hospital and challenge organizer, said.

The Grand Health Challenge places contestants against each other as individuals, while groups of people face off in the Grand Health Family Challenge. Larger noted that any family with a child under the age of 18 is eligible to enter the Grand Health Family Challenge. Larger noted that families that work toward a healthier lifestyle together are more likely to succeed.

"Research shows that family based behavior strategies are effective in fighting childhood obesity, which is an epidemic in this country," she said.

In both challenges, contestants compete to lose the highest percentage of weight for a first place prize of $1,000, while second and third places are awarded $500 and $300, respectively. Larger noted that the challenge is designed to encourage a healthier lifestyle for area residents.

"Our overall goal is to help people develop a healthier lifestyle," she said. "I think everybody should work on this to develop a healthier lifestyle, and the weight will come off. If you're exercising and you're eating right, that is developing a healthier


The challenges kick off at 7 p.m. Jan. 9 at St. Marys Memorial High School with the first of four motivational speakers. Each program is free and open to the public. The first will feature Joe Piscatella, an expert on lifestyle and cardiac health. Piscatella has authored 12 best-selling books, made appearances on The Today Show, CNN and Good Morning America and is president of the Institute for Fitness and Health, among other accolades. Piscatella will present "From Information to Action," which will address stress and a healthy lifestyle.

"Last year he talked more about healthy diet, and since so many of us know what to eat, it's stress that plays a factor in our success of a health lifestyle," Larger said.

At 7 p.m. Feb. 13 at St. Marys Memorial High School, Aaron Kuhn will take the stage to discuss addiction. A clinical counselor, Kuhn specializes in addition.

"We know that food can be an addiction," Larger said.

Kristi Koch, an employee at Joint Township District Memorial Hospital, will discuss cardiovascular disease with attendees at 7 p.m. March 12 at St. Marys Memorial High School.

"Kristi (Koch) is a dynamic, energized health care provider at Joint Township Hospital and has worked there for many years," Larger said. "She has worked in our CCU and for the past several years has worked in our cardiac rehab area."

Bruce Boguski will round out the list of speakers at 7 p.m. April 2 at St. Marys Memorial High School. Boguski will talk about staying motivated.

Registration forms for the Grand Health Challenge or the Family Health Challenge may be found in The Evening Leader or the Wapakoneta Daily News.

A completed form, along with a $20 registration fee, may be returned to the newspaper office.

The final day to register for the Grand Health Challenge or the Family Health Challenge is Jan. 7 at the hospital's Winter Health Fair.

The health fair will be held from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Auglaize Mercer Family YMCA in Celina.

"We will be taking registrations for the family challenge as well as the adult challenge through that date," Larger said.

For more information on the Grand Health Challenge or the Family Health Challenge, contact Larger at 419-394-3335 ext. 1128.