Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.

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Annual weight loss challenge kicking off

A massive weight loss challenge is getting underway in the Culpeper area, and there’s still time to sign up to participate. Registration for the annual Drop It! The Healthy Living and Weight Loss Challenge is going on this week, ending Feb. 2. Participants have the chance to win up to $1,000 in prize money while slimming down and learning more about exercise and nutrition.

The 12-week Drop It! program features free exercise classes, nutritional tips, health screenings and motivational support. As part of the program, a health fair will be held Feb. 2 at Germanna Community College’s Daniel Technology Center from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The fair will include free screenings, fitness demos, healthy snacks and more, according to the “Drop It!” website,

Drop It! is a joint effort of Germanna, the Culpeper Regional Health System and Powell Wellness Center with support from local philanthropists Joe and Linda Daniel. It’s a way to inspire area residents to take better charge of their health. It’s also a fundraiser for local nursing and health education programs, with $50 donated for every pound lost by participants.

In 2012, participants lost a combined 3,065.04 pounds. This year’s goal is for participants to lose a total of 5,000 pounds.

You can register for the program at Saturday’s health fair at Germanna or at these locations:

  • In Culpeper, at Powell Wellness Center through Feb. 2. The center is open seven days a week; click here for its hours and location.
  • In Locust Grove, at Germanna Community College (next to the student center) Wednesday, Jan. 30 from 9 a.m. -4 p.m. and Thursday, Jan. 31 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Initial weigh-ins are done when you register; final weigh-ins are conducted between April 29 and May 5. Prizes are given to those who lose the biggest percentage of their body weight. Last year’s adult winner lost 22.91 percent of her body weight, and last year’s teen winner dropped 8.88 percent of her body weight, according to the Drop It! website.

The adult winner gets $1,000, and the teen winner receives $250. Other prizes include grocery gift cards, nutritional counseling sessions and a massage gift certificate.

You can learn a ton more about the challenge by visiting or by visiting the Drop It! Facebook page. And you can read a story about the program here. Or, call the event hotline for details at 540/829-4754. Registration and waiver/liability forms are available at