HURLBURT FIELD, FL -- More than 50 active duty service members, civilians, retirees and dependents participated in the second annual Weight Warriors program at Hurlburt Field Air Force Base (AFB) in Florida. Based on the popular reality television series “The Biggest Loser,” the program helped participants develop regular fitness and healthy eating habits.

“Many [participants] would express to us that they knew what to do but had a hard time being consistent,” says Karen Cataldo, director at the Riptide Fitness Center at Hurlburt Field AFB. “By creating the program, we were hoping people would feel committed and stick to their programs.”

Program participants were divided into teams and assigned to a team trainer to help motivate and answer questions. Individuals also scheduled appointments with fitness staff members at one of the base’s three fitness centers to help develop a specialized program.

Teams earned points for attending workshops, team events and various exercise sessions. At the end of the 12-week program, the top three individuals and teams received prizes at a healthy luncheon where participants each brought a healthy dish to share.

Participants had a pre-, mid- and post-fitness evaluation to gauge progress over the course of the program. Nearly all participants who finished the program saw changes in either physical appearance or improvement in their fitness tests. One airman lost 13.5 pounds, a 6 percent drop in his weight. Another participant lost almost 13 pounds, a 7 percent change.

To cover the cost of prizes and T-shirts, the program had a $25 fee, but next year the fee will increase to $50, Cataldo says.

“We’re hoping to increase the cost to $50 in hopes that this will be more of an incentive for people to stay in the program,” she says.

Hurlburt Field AFB plans to begin their third annual Weight Warriors program in January 2008.