The Healthy U Class of 2017 has collectively lost more than 425 pounds this year, and the community is invited to help celebrate at a 'Night of Inspiration.'

Five awards will be presented to Healthy U “graduates” at the Night of Inspiration. Prizes will include a bicycle from Pro-Velo, a Best of Bodyworks pamper package from Bodyworks Day Spa, New You New Room gift certificates from Dugan’s Paint & Flooring Centers and other items to help participants sustain their weight loss.

“We are so sad to see this year come to a close, but we are excited about where the future will take them,” said Melissa Boeschen, community outreach coordinator at Bothwell Regional Health Center and co-chair of the Healthy Living Action Committee (HLAG). “This is not the end for them, but a celebration of their efforts thus far in their journey.”

'A Night of Inspiration' will begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, January 4 at the Heckart Performing Arts Center at Smith Cotton High School. The event is free and open to the public.

A press release from Bothwell Regional Health Center says the Class of 2018 will also be announced at the event. Of the 145 individuals who applied to participate in the 2018 program, 24 semifinalists were interviewed before the final 12 were selected.

They will be paired with fitness mentors and nutrition coaches for a year. As with past classes, they will share their journey with the community through media interviews, volunteering, Facebook posts, and community events.

Other components of Healthy U include public cooking demonstrations, Moving 101 events, grocery store tours, online challenges and a Couch to 5K program that begins March 1. Health U says all the Moving 101 events are free and open to the public.

Healthy U is a project of HLAG, which includes Bothwell Regional Health Center, Katy Trail Community Health, Pettis County Health Center, Boys and Girls Clubs of West Central Missouri and University of Missouri Extension. HLAG is one of three coalitions formed by the Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce Blue Ribbon Health and Wellness Subcommittee.

The Healthy U sponsors for 2017 include HLAG agencies along with W-K Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac, McCarthy Toyota of Sedalia, Central Bank of Sedalia, Ditzfeld Container & Trash Services, General Cable, Missouri Bank II and Owens Corning. Community partners and supporters this year were Sedalia Wellness Center, Total Fitness Gym, Elite Fitness, Brian's Gym, Crossfit Sedalia, Curves, The Body Shop, Snap Fitness, Anytime Fitness, State Fair Community College, Miracle Massage, Bodyworks Day Spa, Sedalia Area Farmers Market, Sedalia School District #200, Woods Supermarkets, Pro-Velo, and Sedalia Parks and Recreation.

Healthy U says new sponsors for 2018 include Printlynx, B & P Excavating, Central Missouri Electric Cooperative, Inter-State Studio, Rick Ball Ford, Callis Integrated Marketing, Dugan’s Paint and Floording Center, and Vincent’s Footwear and Apparel.

For more information about Healthy U, call 827-9138.

Kurt Parsons