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Michigan Apple announces scholarships to help in fight against childhood obesity

Contact: Denise Donohue 
(800) 456-2753

(DeWitt, Mich.) – As U.S. childhood obesity rates continue to climb, the Michigan Apple Committee (MAC) is pleased to announce a contest that will give away three scholarships to Wellspring Camps, a highly acclaimed fitness and weight loss camp for youth. 

To enter the “Get Fit With Michigan Apples Contest,” contestants must submit either a written essay (500-word minimum) or a confidential video online (three-minute minimum) telling why he or she most deserves this opportunity.  

Youth, between the ages of 11 and 18 as of May 1, 2009, will have the chance to win a free four-week scholarship, valued at $6,250, to one of the following Wellspring Camps of choice:

  • California (boys and girls; ages 11 – 18)
  • North Carolina (boys and girls; ages 11 – 18)
  • New York (girls; ages 11 – 24)
  • Wisconsin (boys and girls; ages 11 – 18)
  • Florida (boys and girls; ages 11 – 18)
  • Texas (boys and girls; ages 11 – 18)
  • Pennsylvania (boys and girls; ages 11 – 18)
  • Vancouver, Canada (boys and girls; ages 11 – 18)

 Official entry forms must be completed and signed by the contestant's parent or guardian.  Deadline for submissions is May 15, with winners expected to be announced by June 1.

According to MAC Nutrition Spokesperson Judy MacNeill, a registered dietician, overweight children are at greater risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, bone and joint problems, and social and psychological problems such as poor self-esteem.

“It's great to see efforts like this contest from the Michigan Apple Committee that promote healthier lifestyles, especially for our children,” said MacNeill.  “Genetics, lack of exercise and poor nutrition choices can all lead to weight gain.  An opportunity to attend a camp like Wellspring is certainly life-changing.”

  l of judges will review the entries and evaluate them based on:

  • Completeness – Did the entrant provide all that was required in the entry?
  • Potential – How could the entrant benefit from the programs offered during his or her Wellspring Camp experience?
  • Desire – Does the entrant really want to adopt a healthier lifestyle?
  • Financial Need – Entrants who could not normally afford to attend Wellspring Camp will be given priority.

Entry forms and official rules are available at MichiganApples.com/contests. 

Wellspring has a scientific approach to diet and activity management that helps campers change behaviors in order to adopt a new, healthy lifestyle.  Campers lose an average of 4 pounds per week.  Best of all, 70 percent of Wellspring campers maintain or continue losing weight at home.

“We believe the comprehensive and therapeutic nature of our fitness and weight loss approach is why our camp experience works so well,” said John Gordon, head of business development for Wellspring.  “We're excited to continue our relationship with Michigan Apples to offer three full scholarships as we both work to promote healthy lifestyles.”

This is the second year MAC has offered the contest.  Last year's winners were Kara Schumaker of Clinton Township, Michigan; Michael Craigmile of Atlanta, Georgia; Tevaris Nelson of Chicago, Illinois; and Isaiah Harris of Indianapolis, Indiana.

In addition to losing weight during camp, all four winners were able to maintain the healthy lifestyle after returning home.  So impressed with her son's progress, Kelly Craigmile said the entire family has adjusted their lifestyle.

“Now we all walk at least 10,000 steps a day, always wearing our pedometers and we have switched to a very low-fat diet,” said Kelly.  “I can't imagine any other program that could have changed things around like this one.”

Essay entries should include a recent photo and a Michigan Apple logo from a bag of apples.  Winners will be responsible for their own travel expenses. 

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been a dramatic increase in childhood obesity over the last 20 years.  In 2007, 30 states had a prevalence of obesity equal to or greater than 25 percent; three of these states (Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee) had a prevalence of obesity equal to or greater than 30 percent, with Michigan coming in right below that mark at 28 percent.

Wellspring Academies, Wellspring Camps and Wellspring Fit Clubs are recognized as the leading weight loss treatment programs for overweight children, teens and young adults.  Founded in 2004 as

Healthy Living Academies, the organization is now recognized under one name, Wellspring.  Wellspring offers fitness and weight loss programs across the United States, in Canada, and the United Kingdom.  To learn more about Wellspring weight loss programs, visit www.wellspringweightloss.com or call 866-364-0808.  Wellspring is a division of CRC Health.

 According to the Michigan Apple Committee, there are 7.5 million apple trees in commercial production, covering 37,500 acres on 950 family-run farms throughout Michigan's Lower Peninsula.

The Michigan Apple Committee is a grower-funded, nonprofit organization devoted to market development, education and research activities to distinguish the Michigan apple and encourage its consumption by consumers in Michigan and around the world.