In 2008, Ministry Health Care launched the first annual Ministry Community Weight Race program through the coordination of founder Traci Smet, licensed athletic trainer (LAT) with Ministry Sports Medicine. The program initially reached more than 400 participants. In 2014, nearly 1,000 people entered the annual health competition.
Ministry Community Weight Race, a partnership with Portage County CAN and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, is a team effort consisting of an entire community working towards the common goal of living a healthier lifestyle and losing weight as a result - all as a means to “become the change you want.”
In 2013, Saint Michael’s Foundation was awarded $10,000 from the Verizon Foundation to help meet the growing demand for participation in the Ministry Community Weight Race.
“The Community Weight Race is an excellent example of the innovation, dedication and the impact our healthcare professionals are making in our community,” shared Angie Heuck, director of Saint Michael’s Foundation.
Obesity is one of the top five issues identified by Portage County through the 2012 LIFE Report. Ministry Health Care understands the importance of providing opportunities to learn how to lead a healthier lifestyle and maintain a healthy weight.
“This program would not be as successful without our partners,” shared Smet. “These partnerships give participants many opportunities to achieve their weight loss goals. We are all in this together, and there is nothing more I would like to see more than a community effort in fighting obesity.”
Groups of three to five participants are challenged to realize healthy weight loss goals and achieve healthy lifestyle routines for the New Year and beyond through group efforts and weekly health-related presentations. The challenge begins in January and runs through April.
Ministry Community Weight Race is more than about losing pounds. Coordinators place a large emphasis on education to make life-long positive health changes. Participants can earn points for attending health and nutrition presentations, workshops and coaching sessions and by completing challenges.
One of the Weight Race initiatives is to donate as much food in weight as the teams lose collectively to local food pantries. In 2014, a record-breaking 5,000 pounds of non-perishable food items was donated to local community pantries.
Though the weight race concludes in January, the weight loss journey continues to help participants become the change they want through the Healthy Habits program. Health Habits small groups meet the first and third Thursdays of every month May through December.
In light of recent staff changes, the Community Weight Race, a partnership with Portage County CAN and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, has been canceled for 2015. Weight Race partners and core team members will assess the program, explore new options and to develop the next generation of the program during the next year. Tract Smet, ATC, recently moved into a new position with Ministry Health Care Employer Solutions where she will work more directly with local businesses and their employees on wellness programs. We wish her all the best in her new position.
Published October 2014