Legislative heavyweights lined up outside the third floor Capitol clinic on Monday.
The four most influential legislators in health care — Reps. Jason Brodeur and Matt Hudson and Sens. Rene Garcia and Aaron Bean — weren’t talking Low Income Pool, telemedicine, Medicaid expansion, or any other health care issues, though. They lined up to weigh in and compete in the 2015 Biggest Loser Contest. Modeled after the popular TV series, the Tallahassee Biggest Loser Contest encourages those in the legislative process — either lawmakers or Capitol employees — to lose weight.
Bean said the proceeds — it cost $20 to enter — will help fund a Leon County childhood obesity initiative.
Contestants must weigh in within the first two weeks of session and again on the last weigh during the final week of session, said Bean, who started the friendly competition when he was in the House. There are prizes for most weight loss (men and women) and the highest percent of weight loss (men and women).
Another award — dubbed the Steady Eddy — is given to the contestant whose weight remains unchanged or nearly unchanged during the 60-day session. Bean said that race is a competition between Senate President Andy Gardiner and Gov. Rick Scott.
Monday was the last day to weigh in and join the contest. Registered Nurse Dana Stewart said there are 41 contestants in the 2015 Biggest Loser competition, 17 of them legislators. Nine of those 17 contestants are representatives and eight are senators. The majority of the contestants are men, she said.
While the legislators support the competition, that’s not to say they were eager to be weighed. Brodeur wasn’t telling what he weighed but acknowledged it was more than what he thought. He brushed it off noting that he can drop it because he wrestled in high school and knows the tricks.
Garcia chose not to weigh in at all, when he heard it was optional.
When asked what he weighed, Bean joked, “I weighed in at a pretty good number. Good number in fact. There’s lots of potential for me to lose weight so I am there.”
Florida Department of Health Secretary John Armstrong also attended the Monday weigh in.