ROCK HILL, S.C. - York County residents can make a commitment to improve their health as part of a statewide program designed to curb the obesity epidemic in South Carolina.
The York County Shrinkdown, which gets underway Jan. 9 at the Winthrop Coliseum, is a free, eight-week program designed to help local residents lose weight and make lifestyle changes in 2006.
The Shrinkdown, a partnership of the YMCA, Piedmont Medical Center and Winthrop, is a significant collaboration among area’s leaders in wellness, healthcare and education, said Frank "Moe" Bell, chief executive officer of the Upper Palmetto YMCA.
The Shrinkdown concept began last year in the Upstate when the YMCA of Greenville partnered with Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, the Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center and Furman University to pilot a free eight-week wellness and healthy living program. Scot Baddley, president of the YMCA of Greenville, led a similar event in Jackson, Miss., in 2002 and 2003. More than 4,400 adults and youth took part in the Greenville program that resulted in the loss of more than 6,253 pounds among Upstate residents.
The program will expand in 2006 to 11 other South Carolina communities. Helping with the effort is a "YMCA Activate America" $10,000 grant that will expand the program statewide. Each of the communities will initiate their own Shrinkdowns in 2006 following the Greenville model.
The YMCAs participating around the state in 2006 are:
• YMCA of Beaufort County
• YMCA of Columbia
• YMCA of Upper Pee Dee
• Pickens County YMCA
• Greenwood Family YMCA
• Family YMCA of Greater Laurens
• Berkeley County Family YMCA
• Orangeburg Family YMCA
• Upper Palmetto YMCA (York County)
• Sumter Family YMCA
• YMCA of Greater Spartanburg
• YMCA of Greenville
York County adults, teen-agers and children are asked to participate in the individual category. There also is a corporate challenge where businesses may compete. People wanting to participate must sign up between 2 and 7 p.m. at the kickoff rally on Jan. 9 at Winthrop Coliseum.
During the York County Shrinkdown, which runs from Jan. 9 through March 2, participants will weigh in weekly at designated sites and receive additional information to support healthy lifestyles. Free programs on nutrition, fitness and health also will be offered throughout the Shrinkdown.
A grand finale March 2 will wrap up the program, with drawings, prizes and awards.
For more information, call Ellen Wilder-Byrd or Judy Longshaw at 803/323-2236.