Become the biggest loser in Perris — of weight, that is. Tickets to Disneyland, gift cards, free admission to the Tour De Perris bicycle race and bicycles are among the prizes available for the most successful competitors in the city’s version of “The Biggest Loser” contest.

The opening weigh-in of “Biggest Loser” participants takes place June 15 during the City’s Community Health Fair at Foss Field Park and City Hall, the opening event in the “Live Well Perris” initiative, a series of fun and informative activities aimed at getting residents to eat healthier and exercise more. The day’s activities include health screenings, rock climbing, dance classes and demonstrations, a talent showcase and tips from healthy food vendors.

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The health fair runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the City Hall Campus at 101 North D Street. Information about the health fair will be posted on the city’s website, cityofperris.org; its facebook page, Perris Today and through advertisements and press releases sent to local newspapers.

People who “friend” the Live Well Perris facebook page before June 14th are eligible to win additional prizes, including a year’s membership to the City gym and a $100 gift card to Big 5 sporting goods.

Perris City Council members Julio Rodriguez and Rita Rogers are among the first “Biggest Loser” competitors.

Rodriguez said he has struggled to lose weight his entire life.

“It’s personal for me,” he said. “This program is about leading by personal example. It’s about lifestyle changes—about incorporating healthy eating and active living. It’s not so much about losing pounds as it is about changing lifestyles in a fun way that also allows you to win some prizes.”

Rogers said she suffers from diabetes and wants to improve her overall health by taking off weight. Her goal: lose 40 pounds. Like Rodriguez, she said she participating in the Biggest Loser Perris program provides a great chance to display leadership by example.

“I am committed to this,” she said.

Winners in the Biggest Loser contest will be determined by the percentage of body weight they shed during the three-month competition, not by lost pounds. All participants will be encouraged to check-in periodically to chart their progress, which ends with a final weigh-in at the Glass gym on Sept. 14.

The city will award a pair of Disneyland tickets to both the top man and woman competitor, along with a gift card, a jersey and free-enrollment to the Oct. 6 Tour De Perris bicycle ride and a one-year membership to the Fitness 19. Bicycles and helmets will be given to each first-place winner in three categories for juveniles: Those from 8 to 10 years of age; from 11 to 13 and from 14 to 15. The winners will be recognized at an upcoming televised meeting of the Perris City Council.

Perris Assistant City Manager Ron Carr says the Live Well program also will include walks with Mayor Daryl Busch, bicycling with Mayor Pro-Tem Mark Yarbrough, workout with members of the City Council, a 3-on-3-basketball tournament, a walk down historic D Street and an ongoing campaign to encourage local markets to carry healthy food choices.

Carr says he expects the Biggest Loser program to make a big impact at the start of the Live Well Perris campaign. “This is a contest designed to be fun” he says, “but at the same time help people achieve their weight-loss goals. And although there are prizes, everyone who reaches a healthier weight is a winner.”

- By Joe Vargo, spokesman for the city of Perris

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