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New Ulm Medical Center

Building a Healthy Community Together: Let’s Weigh in, New Ulm!

When it comes to successfully losing weight or making any other healthful lifestyle changes, the power of social support just can’t be emphasized enough. It’s easier to stick with making healthful changes when people can share their goals and successes, share tips on nutrition and exercise, and have others to help them be accountable, such as having a buddy to work out with.

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SouthPoint Federal Credit Union (New Ulm location) is currently leading the way in the worksite competition for most employees participating in the LOSE IT to WIN IT Community Health Challenge. Pictured are some of the participants: Front Row (l-r) Carissa Rodewald, Kim Peterson, and Christine Moldan; Back Row - Missy Haugen, Dayna Greenwaldt, Laura Dittrich, Marian Kamm, Deb Christian, Tammy Steffl, and Deb Wesselmann. Not pictured: Chris Felton, Jeff Anderson, Karen Sletta, Michelle Freiderich, Nate Beran, Angie Pidde, Melanie Miesen

In the tight-knit community of New Ulm, that’s the formula for success that the team at Hearts Beat Back: The Heart of New Ulm Project (HONU) is banking on with its new LOSE IT to WIN IT Community Health Challenge.

Cindy Winters, community programs and public policy specialist for HONU, explained, “In New Ulm, we’re known to support each other in working toward our goals. We pride ourselves on being healthy role models for our kids. We’re also known to go ‘all out’ when we get behind a challenge and thrive on a little friendly competition. We truly care about our health and that of our entire community.”

Rallying together for success

The HONU team is encouraging everyone who lives or works in New Ulm to rally together and get their friends, family members and co-workers to register for the free 12-month challenge to lose weight or maintain weight. So far, registration is off to a solid start. As of August 15, more than 1,325 adults had already registered and lost a collective 1,255 pounds.

Winters said, "We're very pleased at the community's early excitement and support for the challenge. Although we’re more than halfway to our goal of having 2,500 people in the community register, we still have a ways to go.”

Many people have shared that they began to see the benefits of social support immediately after they began participating. For example, one participant set a goal to limit concentrated sweets and desserts to one or two a week in a small amount. She shared, “When people ask me if I don't miss all the sweets, I just point to my challenge wristband and they stop bugging me. It's great!" (All participants receive a free challenge wristband after registering to help show their support and participation.)

Worksite competition is heating up

Since most people spend a lot of time at work, having the support of co-workers who are also working on making healthful changes can be especially helpful. More than 21 local employers signed on to host onsite registration sessions for LOSE IT to WIN IT.

In a friendly competition, local worksites are competing against each other for the largest percentage of employees participating. Although not all participating worksites have held their registration events, the results so far among worksites with more than 20 employees are:

#1. SouthPoint Federal Credit Union (New Ulm location): 95 percent of employees participating
#2. Beacon Promotions: 76 percent of employees participating
#3. Frandsen Bank & Trust: 57 percent of employees participating
#4. New Ulm Medical Center: 52 percent of employees participating
#5. Alliance Bank: 46 percent of employees participating

As the challenge progresses, worksites will also be competing for the most weight lost and most points for healthful activities earned throughout the challenge. There is still time for interested employers to schedule an onsite registration for employees. Contact Holly Glaubitz at 217.5199 or Holly.Glaubitz@allina.com.

Milestones for community success

When the challenge has 2,500 people registered, HONU will make a $25,000 donation toward a community prize of $100,000 worth of new outdoor fitness equipment for New Ulm parks and bicycle improvements such as bicycle racks, bicycle lanes and signage.

The remaining $75,000 donation will come after two additional milestones. The first milestone involves the amount of weight the community loses. Over the course of the challenge, participants can collectively earn up to $50,000 in community prize dollars for the community prize. The final donation amount will be based on the amount of weight participants lose (or maintain), according to the data collected from weigh-ins at the kiosks.

The second milestone involves the number of people completing the program. When the challenge ends just before Thanksgiving in 2014, HONU wants as many people in the community as possible to have completed the challenge. If a pre-determined number of people complete the full 12 months of the challenge, HONU will make the final $25,000 donation. The entire challenge is possible due to a grant from UnitedHealth Group and a generous donation from New Ulm Medical Center Foundation.

Online registration for the challenge is open through Oct. 31, 2013. For registration information and details, visit www.heartsbeatback.org/loseit.