- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 7, 2015

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The state health department has kicked off the ninth year of Scale Back Alabama

Thousands of participants lost more than 1 million pounds in the first eight years.

Officials say those 18 or older can participate in teams of two. They can register online and then go to an official weigh-in site the week of Jan. 19-25. At the end of the 10-week contest, the names of all individuals and teams that lose 10 pounds will be placed in a drawing for prizes.

State Health Officer Don Williams says 32 percent of Alabamians are obese, and they are more likely to have heart disease and a stroke. He said the free weight-loss program is designed to change lives.

The Alabama Hospital Association and Blue Cross help with the program.

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