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Fighting obesity

New studies find that North Carolinians are some of the heaviest people in the United States. According to the States Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System, over 60 percent of adults in Brunswick and New Hanover County are overweight or obese, but there are organizations trying to change these statistics. For years Barbara Michael has struggled to balance a healthy lifestyle with her busy and stressful work schedule. Last year she decided to try out a free health program in Wilmington, called Weight Wise Women. Barbara Michael said, "I had gotten lazy and too sedentary and gained a lot of weight and I was having a hard time doing it by myself so it seemed a really good idea to join a program." She says she saw so many improvements in her health last year that she's decided to join the program again this year. Michael said, “I lost almost 15 pounds or so, which made me feel really good and it turned out to be a good program, primarily because it wasn't a diet program, it was lifestyle changes." The program is at UNC Wilmington, one time a week, for 16 weeks for two hours a class. The program starts in May. There is no charge, but you must be an overweight woman, between the ages of 40 to 64 to attend. One of the teachers of the program, Kathy Bramble said, “The majority of the women lost weight during last year’s class, they lowered their blood sugar, lowered their cholesterol, and lost nine pounds and we want people to lose weight, but not just for themselves. We want them to change their life style; we want to make it a lifetime thing so that they can eat healthier, get more exercise, live longer and be happier." Barbara Michael agrees and said, "I think the most important part is that you learn how to take better care of yourself, that you put yourself as number one despite of all your excuses of too many activities." The Weight Wise Women health program is paid for by the Blue Cross Blue Shield foundation. The free health classes start the first week of May. If you are interested in attending the class and to see if you qualify call 910.962.2133 or send an e-mail to By: Stephanie Beecken

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A Start

Here is an idea, start by making welfare food program checks weight based. If your too fat then you get less funds. Just think of the savings of health care and savings on the programs. For the people that are not on the programs, well, education is the key.

over weight public servants too

I am always dismayed at the physical condition of some of our emergency personnel. Especially Fire and EMS in this area. It seems like 75% of them are obese. How can these people effectively respond to an emergency if many of them look like Jabba the Hut? Wilmington Police seem to be the most fit(with a few exceptions). Maybe Fire and EMS should have to work out with the police.


Its RICHARD SIMMONS again !!!!!!!!!!!! he is back and really has a beef with fat folks in uniform. I think he works for the city Fat Police.


....heart attack is one of the most common causes of death among middle aged firefighters. In their defense, however, most departments do not facilitate or pay for firefighters to stay in shape. A lot of firehouses don't have gyms and you can't be out on a run when the alarm bell rings. So they sit around the station and eat 90% of the time. The guys that are in great shape work out on their own time, but unfortunately a lot of people don't see the inherent risk of letting themselves go....and it's not only firefighters and EMS. There are more than a few deputies in the three-county area who are over-tasking their cardio-vascular system. If there's any doubt, I challenge any one of them to run (not jog) for 200 yards, then draw their wepon and fire ten shots on a standard B-27 or 30 target at fifteen yards. It will truly open their eyes. Every single police department, sheriff's department, and fire department should have height/weight or BMI standards and semi-annual physical fitness testing....and like the military, they should also be paid for the time they are working out. Now, for the dark side of the equation? Most departments don't say anything about overweight or out-of-shape personnel because when a retiree checks out at fifty or sixty, they save on his pension. If he stays in great shape, he may hang around until he's eighty or ninety, and that costs money!

newflash for you

newflash for you commonsensenotc::: there are age limits as to when a firefighter and police officer has to come offline.....65yrs of age you have to come offline period....also as those who have been in this line of work doesnt matter what age you are...20 yrs on the job is enough for anyone regardless of how in shape you might think they look....come get some blood smeared on you and scoop up brains off of our wonderful roads around here for a day with me and then and only then do you have the right to criticise how we look or what we do because god knows you sure as hell do want wanna do it


Every person in our military, from the 17 year old private to the generals and admirals, has to pass a yearly fitness test that includes running, situps, pull-ups, and a body mass index limit. Why our police/sheriff deputies, EMT and fire rescue personnel can't have a similar standard to ensure they can perform their job is beyond me. Does everyone also realize that the effect on healthcare comes out of all of our pockets? It costs more money to eat healthy, and it takes your time, energy, and motivation to stay in shape. What we buy to eat, what we serve in our houses is your own personal choice. Who we decide to pay out of our tax money should also be our choice.

Try looking at police schedules

I also believe police officers and to some extent firefighters should be required to pass a physical test every year. Not so much with EMS, since they can pretty much do their job and still be out of shape. But like another poster has mentioned police officers, unlike the military, do not get paid to work out. That is done on their own time. And if you look at their work schedule, they don't have much free time. They work 12.5 hour shifts which leaves 11.5 hours to sleep and spend time with their family. Suppose they go to the gym for 1.5 hours, now they only have 10hrs of free time. If you figure in the drive time to and from work and to and from the gym along with taking a shower, that's easily another hour. Now you are down to 9 hours. Now they have to eat which if you take into consideration fixing the food, eating, and then cleaning up, that will take about another hour. So now they are left with 8 hours. If the officer has a family, he needs to spend some time with them. And he has to get some sleep. So you can see why some officers might be out of shape. That doesn't excuse those that are grossly out of shape though. I know officers don't have much time to eat healthy while working, but there is no excuse to let yourself get so out of shape that you cannot run a hundred yards. I disagree with those commercials that say 20 min. workouts 3 times a week will keep you in shape. It takes more than that. And there is no reason anyone cannot keep themselves somewhat least fit enough to perform their duties.

RDU police

The police department at the Raleigh-Durham airport are in a tough position. 11 officers failed a fitness test and get one re-test.

RDU Police

That's the key!

You pay them for the time they spend working out but you then come down on them like a ton of bricks when they can't pass the physical fitness test. You make it a "condition of continued employment." BTW, I am ASTOUNDED that anyone with a discernible pulse could fail that test....

That works

Sounds good to me...but do you think the citizens of any county are willing to pay for these officer to workout? Not a chance

What they don't know....

The scheduling isn't easy, but you can give a guy three hours out of his forty to work out....especially if you have a good gym in the station. You can equip a good gym for a mid-size department for less than $25k....and the road is free! Heck, rotating shifts on bike patrol could be a good start in an urban PD. Plus, you don't necessarily "lose them" if they're on the working out on the road. Running and riding a bike don't preclude carrying your shield, a radio, and your piece. After I ran into the "two Rottweilers and a Chow gang," I started carrying a Smith 3513 and my ID when I work out. The problem is that we need to change the mindset, totally. We need to convince everyone, across the board, citizens, politicians, chiefs, and officers, that working out and staying in shape is as much s part of the job as writing a citation or making an arrest. The same goes for firemen.

I completely

I completely agree...officers should be paid an additional 3 hrs a week to work out. That's not too much to ask. That would give officers 4-45 minute workouts a week. And people will be surprised what that small amount of time can do for a person