Like many across the country, Crawford County employees are using the new year to get in shape and lose some weight. The county is joining a challenge by Kansas Governor Sam Brownback on his statewide weight loss challenge.
According to Crawford County Health Director Janis Goedeke the challenge is especially important in this county, where obesity is higher than the state average.
"The obesity rate is about 26.9% - in Crawford County it's 36.6% - and so we have a higher incidence of obesity here," says Goedeke. "So I think we really need to address that and there is nothing like being the leader and kind of putting your money where your mouth is and trying to lose that weight and being healthier."
Goedeke says so far five teams of five across the county are participating in the challenge which will last until May 15. The team with the most combined weight loss wins.
"We might see people jogging up and downstairs, maybe they won't be jogging, they might just start with walking up the stairs, but you might see people walking on breaks," says Crawford County Commissioner Linda Grilz.
Grilz says she hopes the initiative causes lasting lifestyle changes in county employees.
"I'm kind of anxious to see what the teams are going to with in terms of trying to bolster their own weight loss," says Grilz.
Crawford County Clerk Don Pyle and his team plans to use the support of their team as their main motivator.
"I've felt that I needed to lose some weight and I think when you are part of a team you don't want to let down your teammates, and there's a little competitive nature in everybody that we hope we can at least stay competitive with the other teams," says Pyle.
The first weigh-in will take place on January 14 at the Crawford County courthouse.
For an extra incentive Crawford County will give a $500 prize to the winning team, which means each member will receive $100.