It's that time again -- to start thinking about a healthy new year.
In fact, organizers want you to mark your calendars now to get ready for the Worthington weight-loss challenge, which will be launched Thursday, Jan. 10, at the Health & Fitness Expo at the Shops at Worthington Place, 7227 N. High St.
Expo hours are noon to 6 p.m.
The Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce is teaming with the mall to present the expo, which will feature more than 50 exhibitors and will be rich with health screenings, providing individual information about everything from cholesterol to skin cancer.
Among the screenings will be mammograms and bone-density testing at OhioHealth's mobile testing unit.
Besides being able to learn about their health and fitness levels, participants will be invited to sign up for a 10-week weight-loss challenge.
To take part, register at the event or within the following six days. The actual challenge begins Jan. 17.
For a $5 donation, anyone may participate by entering his or her name and weight. Each person will be placed on one of four teams, each of which will represent a community nonprofit organization. The donations will go to the organization with the team that achieves the highest percentage of weight loss.
The Rite Bite, which provides weight-loss and fitness services for individuals and corporations, will set up a custom website for the challenge. All information will be anonymous.
Participants will be able to reap the benefits of the site that will be designed specifically for the program. It will provide weekly tips on exercise, fitness and diet, and participants will be eligible to reach out to the Rite Bite's dietitians for customized meal plans.
Participants also will be invited to join a weekly walking group at the Shops at Worthington Place. A local celebrity will lead the group each week.
The shops at the mall also will participate in the expo. Some will feature fitness-related merchandise and discounts, and others will participate in a scavenger hunt that would qualify participants to win prizes.
"This event launches a 10-week initiative to bring people back to the mall and to remind them of the progress they are making on their health goals," said Kathryn Paugh, chamber executive director.
Among the screenings available will be a full range of biometrics testing, including cholesterol, blood pressure, body-mass index and glucose levels. Results will be read by a professional and explained individually.
Screenings for oral cancer, skin cancer, sight and hearing also will be available. Health organizations and practitioners will provide information and demonstrations on a wide range of topics, including cooking, exercise, elder care and drug abuse.
Mammography and bone-density testing require preregistration. Call OhioHealth at 614-566-1111 to schedule either.
The expo event sponsor is Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. Corporate sponsors are Healthy Worthington Resource Center and Food Pantry; OhioHealth; Home Well Senior Care; and Rite for You Corporate Wellness.
The expo is free and open to the public.
"This is being done as a service to the community," Paugh said. "It is more of an outreach activity than a fundraiser."