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Hospital CEOs Put Weight Behind Losing Effort

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 30, 2012

It's spring, and the annual playoffs for the nation's professional basketball and ice hockey leagues are well underway. Millions of Americans will be latched on to their televisions in the coming weeks and months to see how the games play out.

Running along a concurrent timeframe, however, is a much smaller competition in Sioux City, Iowa with which many of us who are gravitationally challenged can more closely identify.

Bob Peebles, CEO of Mercy Medical Center-Sioux City, and Peter Thoreen, CEO of nearby St. Luke's Regional Medical Center have entered into a friendly contest to see if they can lose 10% of their body weight over three months.

The Sioux City Journal reports that the contest began on March 27 when Thoreen and Peebles weighed in at 222 pounds and 242 pounds, respectively, at a ceremony in the City Council Chambers. When the contest ends on June 27, the loser writes a $500 check to the winner's favorite charity.

If there is a tie, the CEO who has lost a higher percentage of body weight will be declared the winner. That could tip the scales in Peebles' favor.

"We are both cheap. Neither one of us is going to want to give a $500 check to the other," Peebles told The Journal. "And we're a little bit competitive as CEOs. So I am looking forward to this challenge. I'd like to set the stage in this community and how important it is to change lifestyle and be more healthy ... also setting the stage for all our associates in the entire community. We are healthcare executives. We need to set the example."

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