West Virginia University students can join their classmates in a competition to slim down and get healthier.

The third annual Body for Break contest, organized by the WVU Student Recreation Center, begins Wednesday (Jan. 14). A formal kick-off event is planned from 5-7 p.m. at the center on the Evansdale Campus.

Highlights include a live U92 radio broadcast , free samples of healthy foods provided by WVU Dining Services and a Zumba demo class with live music. Body for Break staff will be available to answer fitness questions.

Students who attend the kick-off event will also have the opportunity to win an autographed WVU football.

During the Body for Break program, students will receive personal training, nutritional consultations, group support sessions, weekly articles and prizes.

Our goal is to help students develop a healthier lifestyle, not just a great �€~body for (spring) break,said Colleen Harshbarger, manager of fitness, wellness and informal recreation at the Student Recreation Center.

Students can register for the program online at http://www.studentcenter.wvu.edu/bodyforbreak . All participants must be full-time WVU students registered for a minimum of 12 undergraduate credit hours or nine graduate credit hours. There is a $10 registration fee.

Students who sign up for the eight-week program must get a pre-fitness assessment. Assessments will be held at the Student Recreation Center from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday and Friday (Jan. 15-16)and from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 17). No appointment is necessary. All participants will receive a free stainless steel water bottle.

The assessment allows us to measure the progress you make in Body for Break, and it will determine your eligibility to win the competition,Harshbarger said.

Body fat, circumference, resting blood pressure, resting heart rate, height and weight will be measured. Participants should come to the assessment hydrated, and close-fitting clothing is recommended to get accurate measurement results.

New this year, students are encouraged to bring their friends and sign up for the program as a team. Teams of 10 or more students will have a chance to win a team adventure.

The team with the highest average body fat loss will participate in a daylong excursion, including adventure games, activities and high/low rope elements designed specifically for the group.

Students who exercise three or more times a week at the recreation center will be entered into weekly raffles for prizes such as autographed footballs, basketballs and more.

The program ends March 13, the Friday before spring break. At that time, students who participated are encouraged to get another assessment. The post-assessment will look at body fat loss, inches lost, heart rate, blood pressure and flexibility. The three males and three females who show the greatest change in fitness levels will be eligible for prizes.

Prizes include a rafting trip for four, a $250 gift certificate for a midweek spa escape, a polar heart rate monitor and tickets for Snowshoe and Seven Springs.