Florida Lawmakers Cutting the Fat

A challenge has been issued to see who can drop the most pounds this spring. It’s a silly contest with a serious message.

State Representative Curtis Richardson wants to be the biggest loser. He’s getting weighed in as part of the challenge issued by one of his colleagues to see who can lose the most weight by the end of the legislative session.

"I think it’s a great challenge and we’ll see who can come out on top at the end," Richardson said.

Richardson thinks he’s gained at least 25 pounds he didn’t need during his career in the legislature and you don’t have to look far at the Capitol to see he’s not alone. Long hours, high stress and eating on the go often lead to unhealthy meal choices.

That is why House Health Care Chairman Aaron Bean came up with the challenge. "Nobody likes pork in government, but as legislators and representatives, sometimes we have a hard time resisting the pork chops and mashed potatoes."

But there’s a serious side to this challenge. The rate of obesity has more than doubled over the past 30 years. One out of three of us now eat too many unhealthy meals.

Representative Will Kendrick says the biggest loser challenge will just be an added incentive for the diet he’s already trying. "I think it shows the concern that we’ve all got for obesity in our younger generation and the fact that we as leaders need to be the ones who set the example."

The prize for the biggest loser was first going to be dinner, but representatives are rethinking that plan. Maybe a new exercise bike?

House members say they are extending their challenge to state senators as well.