FAMU: The Biggest Loser – A MLK Day of Service project

BY MARCY PALMERI, Contributor

ST. PETERSBURG — Charlie Colquitt, associate professor of Pharmacy Practice at Florida A&M University, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Tampa and his students are hosting their rendition of “The Biggest Loser” for their MLK Day of Service project by leading the way toward better health and wellness for those suffering with obesity.

Two out of three adults are overweight or obese and one out of three children is overweight or obese, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH).

Colquitt states that a Body Mass Index (BMI) above 24 is considered overweight, while a BMI over 30 is obese. And pursuant to the NIH, being overweight is having extra body weight from muscle, bone, fat and/or water, whereas obesity is having a high amount of extra body fat.

Armed with pharmacology students, Colquitt will address the obesity epidemic as it pertains to both adults and children by educating program participants on the nutritional pyramid, proper reading of food labels, food portions and will distribute calorie counting wristbands in an effort to combat obesity.

“The nutritional or pyramid plate will teach portion control. It’ll show them what a portion actually is. This entire process will set them up for a healthier lifestyle. It sets them up for success. We’re giving them all the tools they need to achieve their weight loss goals,” said Colquitt.

The information provided by the students to the public will be ongoing throughout the day on Mon., Jan. 19, and will be held in a casual seminar format.

Students will be divided into teams placed along the parade route. One group at the Walgreens pharmacy on 22nd Avenue South and Martin Luther King Street South and one at Vinoy Park on Central Avenue and Beach Drive.

Colquitt is hoping for extraordinary results from the Pinellas County participants as he’s providing them with the tools necessary for success.

Each team will have a scale, a BMI reading device, nutritional cards and a pyramid/nutritional plate. Interested persons who are considered obese will receive a Jawbone, which is fitness bracelet that is used with a smart phone. It tracks activity such as steps taken, exercise, calories burned, hours slept, quality of sleep, as well as being a watch.

In the interest of lowering the obesity rate and raising the level of activity in Pinellas County, Colquitt emphasized the benefits of exercise. Free exercise classes are offered at the Johnnie Ruth Clarke Health Center, 1344 22nd St. S. Gone are the days of expensive gym fees.

So while you are out enjoying the many events held around the city on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, stop by one of the “Biggest Loser” seminars and get the tools to get your health back on track.

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