Rapides Regional Medical Center employees and their family members have joined the “Geaux Lite Louisiana Statewide Hospital Weight Loss Challenge” – and you can, too!

“Geaux Lite” is a program created by the Louisiana Hospital Association in an effort to address the state’s obesity numbers. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Louisiana is currently ranked as the most obese state in the country, with 34.7 percent of Louisiana adults considered obese.

“It is a fun, free, six-month competition where hospital across the state compete to get healthy,” said Ann Vanderlick, RN, a Rapides Regional Medical Center employee health nurse. “At the moment, our team is made up of 160 RRMC staff and their family members, but we’d love to have our community join us, too.”

To join, all you have to do is visit GeauxLite.org and choose Rapides Regional Medical Center as your hospital team. Then, enter your information and join as a “Business/Community Partner.” You can follow the state’s progress through the Geaux Lite Louisiana Facebook page (or just follow the Rapides Regional social media sites).

“The state’s goal is to lose 200 tons,” Vanderlick said. “That’s 400,000 pounds. And we want to lose it by April 1, 2014.”

Since most weight loss programs suggest finding an “accountability partner” for successful weight loss, Geaux Lite allows coworkers, family members and friends to be accountable to each other since they are all on the same team.

Of course, there are prizes, too. The final Geaux Lite weigh in is in April. Four grand prize state winners will receive a $1,000 VISA gift card, a T-shirt and an invitation to the Geaux Lite Louisiana Celebration. RRMC will also name a local winner, who will win a $500 gift card, T-shirt and invitation to the celebration.

“Obesity is an issue,” Vanderlick said. “We see it every day in our patients, among our staff and in our own families. Everyone knows it can lead to serious health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and some cancers. The problem is, many adults lack the motivation to do anything about it. Geaux Lite is the perfect opportunity to take that first step.”

For more information about Geaux Lite Louisiana, visit GeauxLite.org.