K-State Research and Extension News
March 19, 2010
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Health Campaign Leads to Happy Ending

County’s ‘Corporate Meltdown’ Helps Residents Shed 1,245 Pounds in 2010


GARDEN CITY, Kan. -- What some might consider old advice -- "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again"-- proved to be a winner for a Garden City, Kan., man who is a repeat participant in Finney County's Corporate Meltdown.

Here's what happened: In 2009, a middle-aged gentleman signed up to participate in Corporate Meltdown, an eight-week community-based health promotion, said Linda Beech, Kansas State University Research and Extension family and consumer sciences agent who initiated the post-holiday weight and health management program 11 years ago.

The gentleman was overweight and, when tested at the beginning of the health promotion, had a blood sugar level that exceeded 300. Such a level could easily signal diabetes, and he was encouraged to follow up with a health care professional, Beech said.  

Eight weeks later, his post-program blood sugar level remained in the 300s, and he was again warned of the dangers of diabetes and counseled to see a health care professional.

In 2010, when he returned to enroll in the 2010 offering of the program, his blood sugar level still exceeded 300, and he was again counseled about the dangers of diabetes.

This year, however, Beech said that he took the educational program to heart, and made an effort to choose a greater variety of foods, increased the number of fruits and vegetables he ate each day, gauged appropriate portions for meals and snacks, and exercised 30 minutes most days.

And, by the end of the eight-week program, he'd lost 34 pounds and his blood sugar level had dropped from 300+ to 104, Beech said.

"His success is heartening," said Beech, who reported that, in 2010, 245 participants (49 teams of five each) in the Corporate Meltdown lost a total of 1,244.5 pounds. Since the health initiative was introduced 11 years ago, participants have shed a total of 8,304.5 pounds.

That's more than four tons, she said.

The name, Corporate Meltdown, is derived from the pitch to worksites early in the development of the program, she said. About half of the current teams are based in worksites, and others are made up of friends, family or church members who share an interest in improving health.

The timing is right, as many people make a resolution to lose weight in the new year, Beech said.

“The community also has come together to make it happen,” she said. “We started out by putting table tents in restaurants; we still do, but now we also do print, radio and television interviews to promote the program. And, the ‘we’ includes the Finney County K-State Research and Extension Office, Garden City Recreation, Garden City Community College and the United Methodist Mexican-American Ministries who are working as partners to promote health,” Beech said.

She noted that fitness centers within the county now offer free gym membership for participants in the eight-week program.

"Participants are encouraged to complete a 15-question healthy-living survey at the beginning of the program and, again, as the program ends," Beech said.

"Everyday changes matter," said Beech, who is still analyzing data from this year's participants --and looking for still more success stories.

"Everyone loves a happy ending," she said.

More information about the Corporate Meltdown is available by contacting Beech at lbeech@ksu.edu. More information about a food, nutrition and health is available at local K-State Research and Extension offices throughout the state and online at: www.ksre.ksu.edu


K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by: Nancy Peterson
K-State Research & Extension News

Linda Beech is at 620-272-3670 or lbeech@ksu.edu.