Students Involved in Community Weight Race
Emma St.Aubin
estau255@uwsp.edu
Believe it or not, we are already one month into 2012 and as spring nears, gyms tend to clear out as New Year’s Resolutions are slowly forgotten or given up.  The Community Weight Race (CWR), hosted by Ministry Health Care, is an opportunity for students at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point to help members of the community meet those weight-loss resolutions rather than give up on them.
 
 
The competition enforces healthy lifestyle changes and is a community-wide weight loss support program for anyone over the age of 18, including UWSP students.  The participants are provided with information and services from local health experts to gather a supportive team for those who want to lose weight. 
 
 
The CWR kick-off took place on January 12 and the competition will continue on until April 21, but that’s not where weight loss ends. From the successful partnerships with UWSP and Ministry Health Care, the participants are encouraged with presentations to empower them on their lifestyle changes.
                         
Tom Wetter, a Health Promotion professor at UWSP, will be a speaker for one of the many motivational presentations.  In Wetter’s presentation, he will define what it means to be healthy and further explain that skinny and healthy are not synonymous.
 
 
“The main idea of my presentation is body weight, but it’s only one factor and may not even be the most important factor in health,” Wetter said. “I think this is an important topic, especially on campus, because students base ‘healthy’ on what they look at when they see other students around campus.  They look at each other and make judgments on their health, but fitness is what you can do, not what you see.”
 
 
The competition is designed for all body shapes, whether the participant is in it to lose weight or just to reinforce healthy habits.  For those in it to lose weight, weigh-ins are offered to mark the initial, midway, and final weight loss. The Ministry Point Sports Medicine Program will be offering weekly coaching groups on a variety of topics, fitness testing, motivational presentations in the DUC, and workshops.
 
 
CWR is both an opportunity for members in the community to achieve their goals along with an opportunity for students to get involved.
 
 
“Students can apply the information they are learning in class and use it to build practitioner, hands-on skills.  In events like CWR, they learn what it takes to make an organization work and run smoothly.  Even if they only learn how many tables to set up or whether or not to hand out goodie bags, they gain experience,” said Annie Wetter,  the Associate Dean and Chair of the Health Promotion and Human Development Department (HPHD) at UWSP.
 
 
Many UWSP students are getting practice experience by coaching the participants while graduate students are providing supervising support.
 
 
Song Xiong, a UWSP Communications and Dietetics student, designed an interactive calendar for the participants to monitor their progress.
  
“CWR gave me an opportunity to utilize both of my majors while helping create a healthier community. I was also drawn to CWR because it focuses on behavioral change instead of just weight loss and it really makes a positive impact on the participants’ lives,” Xiong said.