Thanks to WHO funds, the Tuvalu Red Cross has organised a biggest weight loser competition that started in September 2010 in partnership with the Ministry of Health. This project was a competition with 49 people registering to participate. On the initial meeting the Ministry of Health staff conducted a medical assessment of participants and established a baseline of their health status including their weight.
The Ministry of Health held sessions on healthy living and safe exercising. Over a period of eight months the participants were weighed four times to monitor their progress. The Red Cross organized different physical activities such as Zumba classes or volley ball games. Basic gym equipment was purchased to establish the first gym in the country.
At the end of the competition there was a five kilometre walk and a ceremony with prizes for those who had lost the most weight. Some participants had lost up to 10 kilos in weight and were satisfied as they now felt better and able to fit into clothing fitting that previously couldn’t.
An evaluation of the project found that participants wanted the program to continue not as a competition but for their own good with the hope to attract more people especially those who are overweight.
The group has put a weekly program together to follow as a group and encourages Tuvalu Red Cross to look for ways to continue competitions in the future and to improve the gym facilities.