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USA TODAY Weight-Loss Challenge Returns For 5th Year With Eight Weeks of Compelling Stories and Online Features

Health Tips, Blogs and Video Available at

MCLEAN, Va., March 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Monday, March 31, USA TODAY will kick of its fifth annual USA TODAY Weight-Loss Challenge. The eight-week series will run every Monday in print and on

Each week USA TODAY will follow the story of dieters who found ways to make significant changes to their lives, and their waistlines. These stories range from a man in Georgia who was triggered into losing weight after a his dentist refused to perform a root canal due to his high blood pressure; a woman in Michigan who fought to lose weight and get healthy after being diagnosed with stage four breast cancer; and a woman in New Jersey who lost 248 pounds and regained her slim figure and athletic lifestyle. All stories will feature before and after photos and will be available in print and online at

Ongoing features on will include weekly videos with registered dietitian Edith Hogan offering tips and recipes for healthy eating; a selection of interactive menus featuring great 1,500-calorie and 1,800-calorie-a-day diets with dozens of exciting new recipes; an offering of menus that incorporate comfort foods cooked in a healthful way from Cooking Light magazine; a special deal on pedometers from America on the Move; and multiple blogs with a focus on weight loss and healthy living.

Three blogs will be written by noted nutrition and diet experts: Keith Ayoob an associate professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx works with overweight children and their families; Bonnie Taub-Dix is a registered dietitian in New York City and Dawn Jackson Blatner is a registered dietitian in Chicago, both are spokeswomen for the American Dietetic Association. Three additional blogs will feature past dieters who have been profiled in the USA TODAY's Weight-Loss Challenge: Kelly Rhoads of Bowie, Md. who lost 170 pounds on Weight Watchers; Lee Claypoole, youth minister in Greer, S.C. who lost 100 pounds weight training and watching calories; and Kemichelle Taylor, fulltime student and part-time personal trainer in Mobile, Ala. who lost 234 pounds watching her diet and exercising regularly and is now a personal trainer at a gym.

The USA TODAY Weight-Loss Challenge will wrap up with a cover story featuring Claudia Vercellotti, 38, of Toledo. First featured in USA TODAY in early-February, Claudia weighed 347 pounds and is 5'6". To date she has lost 16 pounds by following Weight Watchers and exercising regularly. Vercolletti has her own blog on and has been documenting her journey through her own weight-loss challenge.

USA TODAY is the nation's top-selling newspaper. It is published via satellite at 34 locations in the USA and at four sites abroad. With a total average daily circulation of 2.3 million, USA TODAY is available worldwide. USA TODAY is published by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI). The USA TODAY brand also includes:, an award-winning news and information Web site that is updated 24 hours per day; USA TODAY Sports Weekly, a magazine for enthusiasts of college and professional football and baseball; USA TODAY Mobile, offering up-to-the minute news and information on a variety of mobile platforms and devices; and USA TODAY LIVE, the television arm of the USA TODAY brand that brings the spirit and quality of the newspaper to television.

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