He’s a Prize-Winning Weight Loser


Cory Marquart of Morris earns a one-year gym membership by focusing on fitness during statewide wellness competition.

MORRIS – Cory Marquart never wants to let down his team, whether he is volunteering as a member of the Morris Fire Department or participating in the Biggest Loser Minnesota Challenge. That loyalty motivated him to exercise for 3,600 hours during the health and wellness competition and won him a free year-long membership to Snap Fitness. The prize was part of the Challenge, which attracted 22,000 participants across Minnesota.

“I have been working out for a while now, and sometimes getting excited to go work out can be hard,” says Marquart, an engineer at the University of Minnesota–Morris’s Renewable Energy Center. “I knew that I could help my team out, and I didn’t want to let the team down.”

Participants who placed in the top 1,000 for nutrition, weight loss, or exercise had their names entered into a drawing for four Snap Fitness memberships. The Biggest Loser Minnesota Challenge grand prize went to JoAnn Buck of Burnsville, who works at the University of Minnesota Pediatric Urology Clinic in the Twin Cities. She won a trip to Los Angeles for The Biggest Loser Season 11 Finale.

A member of the Cougars team at U of M Morris and the Regional Fitness Center, Marquart didn’t even know that there were prizes at stake. Even so, he took the Challenge to heart, losing 14 pounds or 7 percent of his body weight and earning 27,360 exercise points. Marquart often worked out during his lunch hour, and then he recalled all of that hard work when his favorite Dairy Queen Blizzards got tempting.

During the recently completed Challenge, 22,000 Minnesotans participated with their coworkers, friends, and family. They lost a total of 76,048 pounds, earned 27,749,925 nutrition points, and exercised 383,807 hours — the time it would take to walk around the earth 46 times. The Challenge was free, open to all Minnesotans, and featured 14 divisions each made up of tens —or even hundreds — of smaller teams. Some dedicated challengers competed as individuals.

Sponsored by the Alliance for a Healthier Minnesota, the Challenge’s overall goal is to create a fun community activity that encourages Minnesotans to eat better and move more. They could accomplish that goal by participating in one, two or three of the Challenge’s categories: nutrition, exercise and weight loss.

“This isn’t about rapid or sudden weight loss,” says Tom Mason, co-founder of the Alliance for a Healthier Minnesota. “It’s about workplaces and communities establishing a culture that encourages people to take charge of their own health, choosing healthier lifestyle behaviors that can be maintained long-term.”

In addition to teams from the Colleges and Universities Division, nearly one-third of Minnesota Challenge participants came from small- and medium-sized businesses and chambers of commerce from across the state. This Business/Chamber division, made up of 7,500 participants on hundreds of small business teams, placed in the top three in the final rankings of all three competition categories. Research has shown that when businesses support their employees’ wellness, they employ healthier workers and see a big impact on their bottom line. The CDC reports that more than 75 percent of employer health care costs and productivity losses are related to employee lifestyle choices.

The Minnesota Challenge is the second wellness competition offered by the Alliance for a Healthier Minnesota. During summer 2010, with the help of General Mills, the Alliance developed a relationship with NBC’s Biggest Loser. A pilot wellness competition called the Biggest Loser Summer Challenge brought 10,000 employees of Alliance member companies together to shed more than 37,000 pounds, exercise 16 million minutes and earn millions of nutrition points by making healthy food choices. The Alliance for a Healthier Minnesota’s Biggest Loser Challenge competitions are web-based and powered by RedBrick Health.

About Alliance for a Healthier Minnesota

The Alliance for a Healthier Minnesota is a group of Minnesota companies joined together to create fun, engaging and informative events and competitions to help Minnesotans get and stay healthy. Members of the Alliance include Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Cargill, General Mills, Medica, Medtronic, Midwest Dairy Association, Target, UnitedHealth Group and the Minnesota Department of Health’s Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP). Learn more at HealthierMN.com.





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