USS RONALD REAGAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 kicked off the carrier strike group's (CSG) second "Biggest Loser" competition Feb. 4 with dozens of men and women lined up to be weighed and measured in the ship's medical department.
This year's contest, modeled after the hit television reality series, challenges Sailors to lose weight while the ship is underway on the current surge deployment. Last year, Sailors participated in the first "Biggest Loser" competition during Ronald Reagan's maiden combat deployment.
"Our 'Biggest Loser' contest is a way to motivate people to eat healthier and lose weight," said Lt. Kimberly Musa, Ronald Reagan's physical therapist and health promotions officer, who organized the contest.
"I hear everybody everywhere talking about how they want to lose weight, and this is a way to give them some incentive. Last year, they did this during the last few months of the maiden deployment and it was really successful, so we decided to bring it back," said Musa.
Those who lose the most weight during Ronald Reagan's surge deployment could earn prizes up to $1,000, Musa added. Competitors were weighed, and waist circumference measurements were added to the competition.
"That measurement was added this year because now more studies link cardio-respiratory disease with fat around the abdominal muscles," said Musa. "So we have their waist circumference measured to calculate their BMI [body mass index], which is basically your height to weight ratio, and use that to calculate their target weight."
The contest has been well received by Sailors aboard Ronald Reagan and participants have been eager to sign up for the program.
"I really need to lose weight and I need this program to help me," said Operations Specialist 3rd Class Christina Herbstritt from Ronald Reagan's operations department. "I have no self-motivation because I've had sports all my life to motivate me. I need a coach to push me to succeed."
"We definitely all need motivation to be the healthiest we can be," said Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class (SW) James Marcum from Ronald Reagan's engineering department.
"It's more difficult to lose weight while at sea because it's hard to be consistent when you've got port calls and drills and things. Losing weight will be easier this time around because we can start a program like the 'Biggest Loser' contest and stick with it," said Marcum.
Marcum said he is excited to lose weight and possibly win prizes, but he knows that his competition is not actually going to be the other contestants in the "Biggest Loser" program.
"Your biggest competition is not with the other people in the contest because you don't really know who they are," said Marcum. "Your biggest competition is yourself and your ability to reach your own goals."
Ronald Reagan was commissioned in July 2003, making it the ninth and newest Nimitz-class, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The ship is named for the 40th U.S. president; its motto, "Peace through Strength," was a recurrent theme during the Reagan presidency.
The ship departed San Diego on Jan. 27 on a surge deployment to support operations in the Western Pacific.
For related news, visit the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn76/.