Cash For Chunkers: Lynwood Encouraging Residents To Lose Weight

Cash For Chunkers: Lynwood Encouraging Residents To Lose Weight

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It's a dubious distinction for the city of Lynwood; one in five adults here is obese.  But instead of nagging or banning big sodas, the city is encouraging residents to lose weight by awarding cash prizes.  Cash for Chunkers is Lynwood's annual contest.  Teams of four compete to lose the most weight.  The program is self funded.  There's a $25 registration fee; the more people who sign up, the higher the prize money.  In the past, the winning team pocketed as much as a $1000. 

City Councilman Jose Solache says he's not in it for the money.  He wants to lose weight to set an example for his constituents.  His team member Principal Carlos Zaragoza says he wants to inspire his students to stay healthy.  And, school board member Alfonzo Morales has a more basic reason to diet and exercise.  " Alot of people depend on me.  What good are all my accomplishments, if I die at 34."

This is the fourth year for Cash for Chunkers.  Some residents say the contest should be run more than once a year. Participants like Mayra Manzo like the challenge of the competition.

There are weekly weigh ins and if you gain instead of lose weight, there's a $1 per pound penalty.           

Sign ups end Monday, February 3 and the contest runs 12 weeks.

Manzo says her biggest challenge is to stay away from all the fast food restaurants in Lynwood.  That might explain the high obesity rate here.  Lynwood's effort to encourage healthier eating goes beyond, Cash for Chunkers; the city also hopes to bring in restaurants and stores that offer healthier food options.

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