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posted: 12/10/2012 5:25 AM

Community Challenge added to Fittest Loser contest

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To celebrate the Fittest Loser's fifth anniversary, the Daily Herald is sponsoring the Fittest Loser Community Challenge.

Working with local park districts and Alexian Brothers Health System, 30 teams of five participants will be eligible to enter the competition. Teams must work with local park districts to come up with fitness and weight-loss plans for their individual team or teams. Alexian Brothers Health Systems will offer free before and after health screenings for all of the participants.

"Alexian Brothers Health System is very excited to be a part of the Daily Herald's Fittest Loser contest," said Sara Odland-Beyna, community relations manager for the hospital network. "The purpose of this program is so closely aligned with our mission of providing quality health and wellness opportunities to the communities we serve."

The team with the most points will earn a contribution to their local park district foundation, as well as individual prizes valued over $100.

The teams will be judged on three criteria:

• Total percentage of weight loss as a team.

• Team participation in Fittest Loser Community Challenge events and programs.

• Team spirit to be judged by online voting and Facebook participation.

If you want to form a team, you need to work with your local park district.

"I believe that becoming involved in the Fittest Loser Community Challenge will directly impact our community in a positive way, changing the lives of five people by helping them live a healthier life," said Kathy Wasicki, fitness supervisor for the Hoffman Estates Park District. "We are always looking for ways to help and inspire people to new levels of health and fitness, and with the community backing of this program, it's sure to be successful."

The program will run Feb. 4 through April 22 with the initial weigh-in and health consultation scheduled for Jan. 23-24 at the Daily Herald office center, 155 E. Algonquin Road, Arlington Heights. The health screenings to be performed by Alexian Brothers community nurses include: osteoporosis, blood pressure, body fat, cholesterol (nonfasting, finger stick) and stroke risk assessment.

To register a team, contact your local park district or go here to register your team: .

"We look forward to supporting the contestants selected to participate in this challenge," Odland-Beyna said. "It is our hope that they will all be successful in improving upon and ultimately maintaining their overall health."

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