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Intermountain Healthcare names healthiest principal in Salt Lake Valley

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Posted at 7:16 PM, May 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-22 21:19:09-04

SALT LAKE CITY - Intermountain Healthcare challenged 13 elementary school principals to a 100-day challenge to see who is the healthiest in the Salt Lake Valley, and the winners of the challenge were announced on Wednesday.

As part of the My Heart Challenge, the principals had to change their habits by exercising more and eating better, and they pushed their students to do the same.

"Before the challenge, my biggest health concern was my weight. I was overweight, out of shape and super busy. I had plenty of excuses for why I shouldn't exercise or eat healthy," said Becky Gerber, principal at Herriman Elementary School.

Overall, the 13 principals lost a total 228 pounds in 100 days, or an average of just over 17.5 pounds each.

Gerber was the overall winner and Mark Longe, principal at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School in Salt Lake City, took home the prize for Most Improved.

East Midvale Elementary principal Sally Sansom won the Best Activity award after she put together a fitness night for her students and their families.

"We opened our whole school and had 16 different stations for families to participate. It was our most successful event and the kids talked about it for days after," Sansom said.

The principals say that while it feels good to win, they couldn't have done it without  help from their biggest fans.

"The children.The children. Involving them at school made a huge difference. I had 1,100 cheerleaders saying, 'Go, Mrs. Gerber,' and that made a huge difference," Gerber said.

The winners received $1,000 to go toward their schools and communities.