"Biggest Loser" winners encourage Ladson students to eat right

By Nicole Johnson  bio | email | Twitter

LADSON, SC (WCSC) - Two former challengers from the hit show the "Biggest Loser" were in Ladson, kicking off a program to get kids eating right and being active. Students at College Park Elementary School heard the personal stories of Heba Salama, the at-home winner and Ed Brantley, the second place winner both of season six.

Hundreds of CPES students heard the stories of the former "Biggest Loser" contestants and how they lost a combined 352 pounds on the show.

"Since the show we've really embarked on a childhood obesity and wellness journey. We don't want children of any shape, size, economical status to go on something like 'Biggest Loser,'" Heba Salama said.

The students talked to the contestants about exercises like running, soccer, and basketball, and they learned healthy eating does not always include their favorite fast food or pizza. In addition to having the biggest loser winners here speaking to students, someone from the National Dairy Council was also here to make a big announcement for the school. CPES won a $3,000 grant from the "Fuel Up to Play 60" program. The money will put programs into place to make the school a healthier learning place.

"Students go online and they can enroll at www.fueluptoplay60.com, and they can pledge to have healthier eating, so they're going to go for fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and also to play for 60 minutes every day," dietician with Southeast Dairy Association Mickela Mitchell said.

The biggest loser contestants say with an estimated nearly 17% childhood obesity rate nationwide, they'll continue to encourage students to make healthy choices.

"Heba and I are really focused on helping children and families who struggle with their weight, especially here in the Charleston area. I went to culinary school down here years ago, so it's very near and dear to my heart to help the people here," Ed Brantley said.

The former biggest loser contestants Salama and Brantley are married. They travel the country sharing the story of their journey to fitness, and they say they can't wait to come back to Charleston with other biggest loser contestants for the Cooper River Bridge Run in April.

The "Fuel Up To Play 60" grant program has only been awarded to five schools in the state. The NFL and National Dairy Council partner up to award the grants to schools nationwide. Schools interested in applying for this grant should go to fueluptoplay60.com for more information.

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