Governor Tips The Scales To Kick Off Weight Loss Challenge

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Gov. Sam Brownback kicked off a statewide weight loss initiative Monday by stepping on the scale himself.

Brownback and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer were joined by the rest of their team members at the first weigh-in for the Governor's Weight Loss Challenge. The program encourages state employees to form groups and motivate each other to live healthier lifestyles.

"The issue of obesity is a major national health issue," Brownback said. "We as a country, for the first time, are looking at a generation coming up that may not live as long as the current generation and the primary the issue of weight and obesity."

Nearly 350 teams are signed up already. The two teams comprised of people employed by the State of Kansas, including those in the Kansas Legislative and Judicial branches, that lose the highest percentage of their total starting weight will win cash prizes. The Governor's also is encouraging non-state employee groups, like businesses and municipalities, to recruit teams and provide incentives to run their own competition.

Teams can still sign up at

The challenge officially begins Monday, January 14 and runs until May 15th.

The Governor's team includes Transportation Sec. Mike King, Acting Labor Sec. Lana Gordon, Commerce Sec. Pat George and Kansas Adjutant General Lee Tafanelli. The other members of Lt. Gov. Colyer’s team are Aging and Disability Services Secretary Shawn Sullivan; KDHE Division of Health Care Finance Director Kari Bruffett; Budget Director Steve Anderson and Governor’s Chief of Staff Landon Fulmer.