School district drops weight-lost contest

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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) — An eastern Kentucky school district is dropping its plans for a weight-loss competition among its students.

Some schools in the Pike County School District sent permission slips home asking parents to allow their children to take part in the weight-loss competition sponsored by the district, the Appalachian News-Express ( reported.

Pike County schools Superintendent David Lester told the Pikeville newspaper that the district decided to cancel the competition and move forward with a different plan. The competition would have guaranteed prizes to the winners.

"At this point, we don't want to settle back and look at weight loss as the only indicator of fitness and being healthy," he said. "I don't want to encourage kids that don't need to lose weight to lose weight just to win a contest."

The district had earlier said the weight-loss contest would have included students and staff members competing for the highest percentage of weight loss from Sept. 15 through April 13, 2015. The school with the highest weight-loss percentage would have won up to $10,000 for physical activity equipment, and the staff member who lost the most weight would have won $500, the district had said.

Students also stood a chance to win prizes. The high school student who lost the most weight would have won a scholarship to the University of Pikeville, and the winning elementary school student would have gotten an Apple iPad tablet computer, the district had said.

Lester said the competition was meant to promote healthier lifestyles among students. He said the plans changed after the district's health coordinator decided to go in another direction with the competition.

"I know that we have a statewide, even nationwide problem with obesity ... and she was looking at getting some program that would motivate kids to be more active and to be more healthy and more particular about eating healthy choices and she's still working on that," Lester said.


Information from: Appalachian News-Express,

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