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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Biggest Loser finalist to visit OSU as part of cross-country bike ride

STILLWATER, Okla. – Joe Ostaszewski, season 14 Biggest Loser finalist and former Florida State University football player, is bicycling his way across the country in conjunction with the Riding It Forward movement to bring awareness to the National 4-H Council’s healthy living programs. He will be on the Oklahoma State University campus Aug. 28 to share his message.

National 4-H Council is the nation’s largest youth development organization with programs in every county and parish in the country, including all 77 counties in Oklahoma.

Ostaszewski wants to inspire young people and their families to live active and healthy lives and provide them with tools and programs they need to become “change agents” in the fight against childhood obesity. He is partnering with the National 4-H Council as he bikes the 2,937 miles from Chevy Chase, Maryland, to the Biggest Loser Ranch in Calabasas, California. He began his ride July 31 and will conclude Sept. 26.

"Obesity is a serious, chronic disease that is threatening the lives of millions of Americans, and I am living proof that there is a cure," said Ostaszewski, who lost an impressive 147 pounds as a contestant on Biggest Loser.

Cathy Allen, assistant specialist with OSU Cooperative Extension, said his message fits right in with 4-H programming.

“Health is the fourth H in 4-H, so his focus on healthy eating and being active goes hand in hand with so many of the programs we have for 4-H youth,” Allen said. “We’re very excited to have Joe on campus to share his message with the OSU students, staff and faculty.”

A select group of bike riders, including Pistol Pete; Stillwater Mayor John Bartley; Thomas Coon, vice president, dean and director, Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources; Kevin Allen, state 4-H program leader; Suzy Harrington, OSU’s chief wellness officer; Jorge Atiles, associate dean of OSU’s College of Human Sciences and associate director of the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service; and Preston Tyler and Marshall Earnest, president and vice president, respectively, of the OSU Cycling Club, will accompany Ostaszewski on a bike ride from Stillwater City Hall to the OSU Student Union beginning 5:30 p.m. Aug. 28.

A “blend off,” featuring two of the 4-H Fender Blender Bikes, will take place at 6:30 p.m. on the second floor of the Student Union right outside of the ballroom. These are stationary bikes fitted with a Vita-Mix blender on the fender. Samples of the 4-H green smoothie and the watermelon fresh mint smoothie will be available while supplies last. Participants will be invited to determine their favorite flavor.

OSU’s First Cowgirl Ann Hargis will be on hand to introduce Ostaszewski for his presentation at 7 p.m. inside the ballroom. A question and answer session will take place following his presentation.

Harrington said Ostaszewski’s visit to campus is a wonderful tie-in with the university’s certification as America’s Healthiest Campus®.

“As America’s Healthiest Campus® and home to the Oklahoma 4-H Program, we are thrilled to welcome Joe to our campus,” Harrington said. “In addition to his reenergized lifestyle, he represents the wholeness of wellness with his positive attitude and commitment to 4-H youth. Kudos to him for stepping up to be a strong role model for our 4-H youth, epitomizing the fourth H in 4-H.”

Allen said Ostaszewski’s motorhome will be parked near the Student Union and people are encouraged to sign it as a pledge to become more active and lead a healthier lifestyle.

All events on the OSU campus are free and the public, students, faculty and staff are welcome to attend.

“I hope his visit demonstrates anything is possible when you put your mind to it,” Harrington said. “I also hope his visit raises awareness of the importance of healthy eating and an active lifestyle, and the joy of cycling.”

4-H is the youth development arm of the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at OSU. With offices in all 77 counties, 4-H has more than 134,000 members. Oklahoma 4-H is dedicated to helping Oklahoma youth, families and communities reach their full potential by providing hands-on programming and a learn-by-doing philosophy. Club members learn the life skills they need to be the leaders of tomorrow, all while teaching youth they can make tangible, significant changes in their clubs, their communities, their state and their world. More than 3.2 million youth participate in 4-H Healthy Living programs each year.

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Oklahoma State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local Governments Cooperating: The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, or status as a veteran, and is an equal opportunity employer.

Trisha Gedon
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
Oklahoma State University
136 Agriculture North
Stillwater, OK  74078
405-744-3625 (phone)
405-744-5739 (fax)
trisha.gedon@okstate.edu

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078
405.744.5000