Slim Down Slidell tackles losing weight through camaraderie, competition

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Slim Down Slidell tackles losing weight through camaraderie, competition - Wednesday, March 23, 2011

(Mar. 23, 2011 – Slidell, LA) – Everyone loves a good team competition. The chance to be on the winning team for a new Slidell-area competition, however, is about more than winning cash or trophies – it's also about losing.

That's right: losing – as in weight, fat, inches. That's what is behind the first-ever community-wide weight loss competition kicking off May 1 and known as "Slim Down Slidell

While the competition is about losing weight, there is a whole lot to be gained, says Sam Caruso Jr., Slidell Memorial Hospital business development director.

"Let's face it, we've all talked about it, how unhappy we are with how we look or about the way our health is hurt by too much weight. We hope Slim Down Slidell will be the catalyst many of us have needed to start a healthier lifestyle, not just a temporary diet,” he said. "When you lose weight, it helps your heart, it lowers the dangers of developing diabetes, it gets you exercising – all around, your own improved health is the gift you give yourself.”

Besides promoting weight loss locally, the Slim Down Slidell competition is also an effort by SMH to help raise funds for the American Heart Association.

The competition begins on May 1 and ends on Aug. 1. Any teams competing in the Northshore Start! Heart Walk on Apr. 2 can register then. All other teams must be signed up by the official start date of May 1. Any community group, family, circle of friends or company may enter as a team. There must be five to 10 members on each team. Each team must pay a $500 entry fee at time of registration, with half the funds going to the AHA and the rest going toward prizes to be awarded based on percentage of weight loss to both the top team and the top individual.

Teams must do the mandatory initial weigh-in during the week of Apr. 23-May 1. After that, each participant must weigh in monthly and do a final weigh-in from Jul. 25-Aug. 1. All mandatory weigh-ins must be done at the participant's original weigh-in location for accurate tracking purposes. The three official weigh-in locations are: Slidell Athletic Club (1311 Gause Boulevard) or Cross Gates Family Fitness (200 N. Military Rd., or 4038 Pontchartrain Dr.). A link to register, along with a list of full rules and guidelines, are available at

"The obesity statistics have not been favorable locally. Overweight and obesity percentages have been rising for years. Louisianais ranked fifth highest in the country in obesity, with nearly 65 percent of adults overweight or obese,” AHA spokeswoman Jessica Gremillion said. "Other communities across the country have embraced campaigns like this to promote healthy lifestyles, and we think it's something people here will really get into. We are so pleased that Slidell Memorial decided to take the lead on this –this is a perfect program that can help people take control of their health.”

Already signed up to participate are teams from SMH, the City of Slidell, the East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce, Cross Gates Family Fitness and Slidell Athletic Club.

SMH Chief Clinical Dietitian Paula Brown said many people start an individual weight loss program with the best of intentions, only to give up after a short while without reaching their goals. "Having a team of people, whether it's friends or co-workers, all working together to help each other may be just what's been missing for so many people who've given up on past attempts to lose weight on their own. This short-term competition to lose weight through exercise and a healthy diet may be the jump-start they need for long-term success,” she said.

The results of the four-month Slim Down Slidell contest will officially be celebrated on Aug. 6. Teams will be feted that day at SMH's annual Matters of the Heart, the popular cardiac health fair. Winners will also be announced at the event.

SMH is providing a free secure, online network for participants to share their success stories, swap healthy recipes and form exercise and cooking groups with other Slim Down Slidell participants. The website ( will also begin offering free resources like recipes, exercise tips, cooking and fitness videos.

Overview: Slim Down Slidell

  • Each team must have 5-10 members.
  • There is no limit to the number of teams an organization, family, neighborhood, church or business can have.
  • The competition will be held from May 1 to Aug. 1
  • Team registration will kick off on Apr. 2 at the Northshore Start! Heart Walk.
  • By May 1, team captains must pay the registration fee for their team. This can be done in person at the East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce (118 West Hall Ave.) or at the Slidell Memorial Business Development Office (1111 Gause Blvd., 2nd floor). Online payments may be made via the American Heart Association (
  • To compete, assemble your team, name your team and have each team member complete a registration form online.
  • Each team member must weigh in at an official weigh-in location from Apr. 23-May 1. They must each then do a monthly weigh-in. A final weigh-in must be done from Jul. 25-Aug. 1. Each weigh-in must be done at the same location.
  • Team entry fee is $500. Half that will be a donation via SMH to the American Heart Association. The other half will be prize money for winners. Teams may raise the entry fee however they wish.
  • There will be a winning team and a winning individual, based on percentage of weight loss. Winners will be responsible to pay any taxes due on winnings.
  • Participants should visit their physician before starting an exercise program. Teams are encouraged to eat healthy and increase regular exercise. No appetite suppressants or other artificial help should be used.
  • Full rules and a link to register for the competition are available at


Slidell Memorial Hospital is a full-service 182-bed acute care not-for-profit community hospital located at 1001 Gause Blvd., in the heart of Slidell. Founded in 1959, SMH serves as a primary healthcare resource for families in St. Tammany Parish, La.; Pearl River County, Miss.; and the greater Mississippi Gulf Coast region. For more information, visit


The American Heart Association is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. Our mission is to build healthier lives by preventing, treating and defeating these diseases – America's No. 1 and No. 3 killers. We fund cutting-edge research, conduct lifesaving public and professional educational programs, and advocate to protect public health. To learn more or join us in helping all Americans, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit

Media Contacts:

Sam Caruso, Jr., Slidell Memorial Hospital Wendee Bloom, American Heart Association

985-649-8834 504-830-2304


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