Biggest Loser finalist Joe Ostaszewski stopped in Watertown Wednesday as part of his cross-country “Riding It Forward” tour.
Fourth- and fifth-grade students at Watertown Elementary were treated to a program by Ostaszewski, who is traveling by bicycle across the country to raise awareness of obesity and ways to combat it.
County Mayor Randall Hutto told the students that Tennessee ranks fourth in the nation for childhood obesity issues.
“Today’s a special day for you all,” Hutto said. “Joe’s going all the way across America and he chose Watertown to come to. We encourage you to make healthy choices.”
Ostaszewski gave students an idea of just how much it takes to combat obesity by explaining his own story. He lost nearly 150 pounds during his time on The Biggest Loser, and he explained what a difference he noticed in his energy levels and overall health after being on the show.
“This is what this ride is all about. The most important thing for you to have is your health,” he said. “Right now in this country, you’re number four in childhood obesity, so what I want you guys to know, your health is the most important thing in your life.”
Principal Anita Christian echoed this sentiment.
“We’re all about educating you academically, but also about making lifestyle changes to help you be healthy,” she said.
Ostaszewski asked the students a number of questions regarding health, including how many hours children spend on computers and what it takes to combat that time in terms of physical activity.
“Eat well and exercise, those are the two things you have to do,” he said.
Following the program, all students were given the opportunity to make a healthy living pledge and were able to sign their name to the Riding It Forward tour bus to signify their pledge.
Watertown Mayor Mike Jennings summed up the event saying, “This is a great day. A special day for all of us.”