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Published on March 16, 2017

'Smartest Losers' shed pounds, learn healthy habits

Gundersen Tri-County Hospital and Clinics staff and community members are springing into 2017 with healthier lifestyles.

36 people, including 25 from the community, participated in the annual Smartest Loser program. After an initial body composition analysis, participants earn points during the eight-week, self-guided program by completing strength training and aerobic exercise; meeting nutrition goals; and checking their weight weekly.

"One of the nutrition goals emphasized is limiting or avoiding sugars as much as possible," says Kris Benusa, RDN, CD, manager, Gundersen Tri-County Nutrition Services. "We also focus on drinking plenty of water and increasing intake of fruits and vegetables."

Of the 36 participants this year, 20 returned for their final weight checks. Together they lost more than 185 pounds. Cash prizes were also available to those earning the most points during the eight-week program. This year's top three Smartest Loser participants were:

  • 1st place ($360): Terry Lee Doken (763 points) – 20.4 pounds, 15.1 percent body fat lost
  • 2nd place ($270): Robert Matchey (605 points) – 17.6 pounds, 11.2 percent body fat lost
  • 3rd place ($180): Nancy Lyngen (551 points) – 17 pounds, 5.9 percent body fat lost

"The 2012 COMPASS NOW report identified obesity as a key health issue locally, and the 2015 report identified chronic disease and contributing factors," Kris says. "Smartest Loser helps participants improve their overall health. I've had people who join the program year after year and continue to challenge themselves to improve their nutrition and increase their activity levels. I've also had people hug me and tell me how this program helps them get back on track to a healthier lifestyle."

Congratulations to everyone who participated! Like Gundersen Tri-County on Facebook and watch for more opportunities to improve your health and well-being.

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