USS UNDERWOOD, At Sea -- USS Underwood sailors have adopted a new way to stay healthy and within Navy fitness standards from a popular reality television program. Television’s "The Biggest Loser" has been an inspiration to more than 20 Sailors aboard the ship, and many hope it will become a Navy-wide program.

"We got the idea from the show," said Chief Culinary Specialist Duane Spears, coordinator for the contest. "We thought it would be a great idea to boost the fitness of our sailors."

Participants were weighed for recording purposes before deploying to the Caribbean Sea in support of Partnership of the Americas, a deployment designed to enhance maritime security in the Caribbean basin and other waters surrounding Central and South America.

"We meet for physical training three times a week, and the contestants’ weights are monitored throughout our deployment," said Spears.

Not only will the sailor who loses the most weight be rewarded with a healthier body, but they will also receive a $100 gift certificate to the ship's store and the winner will be the first one off the ship when the ship returns to its homeport in Mayport, FL.

“We have had a great deal of success with our PRT program, with over 92 percent passing the last PRT,” said Cmdr. Roderick Fraser, commanding officer of Underwood. “Chief Spears’ program takes this to a whole new level of success.”

Spears said he hopes Underwood’s Biggest Loser contest is a program that the Navy can adopt as a cornerstone for the promotion of good health and fitness.

Photo: Sailors stationed aboard the guided-missile frigate USS Underwood conduct physical training on the flight deck as a part of a weight-loss competition based on the popular television show Biggest Loser. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist Seaman Charles A. Ordoqui.