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TOPS Club, Inc.
TOPS Club, Inc. is a non-profit charitable corporation based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, having members in chapters located worldwide, the majority of them in the United States and Canada. Its twofold objective is to sponsor research and foster support groups in human body weight control. Most members refer to the organization simply as "TOPS", an acronym for "Take Off Pounds Sensibly".
Additional recommended knowledge
Weight Control Philosophy
TOPS originally formed in 1948 as a response to the need to assist overweight and obese people to lose weight by setting up a support group system. Over the years as more weight management problems such as bulimia and anorexia became widely recognized in medicine, TOPS expanded their scope to include all people with weight problems. They also created an incentive for club members who reach and maintain their weight at their goal level to stay in the club as KOPS (Keeps Off Pounds Sensibly) members -- giving them extra recognition to help encourage other members in the club.
TOPS does not endorse any particular weight-loss plan (see dieting) and welcomes people into the membership even if they are actively involved in any weight-loss plan. Club meetings emphasize nutrition and exercise education focused on supplementing a member's effort to manage their weight. TOPS also has published education material for its members.
Local Chapter Meetings
A local chapter of the club is set up in a small region, usually covering one community. Larger communities may have more than one chapter, either because of size limitations or to address the various schedules of their members. According to their web site, the average chapter has 20 members. The total membership as of 2003 is 200,000.
Members meet weekly both for weight recording ("weigh-in") and for the main session. The weigh-in is performed in a private room with a calibrated balance scale and two members present as recording officers. As such, the weight records are considered medically sound.
New members are required to consult with their physician to obtain a goal weight for themselves, then report it to the recorders. The membership fee is $24/year in the USA and $30/year in Canada.
The main session in a club meeting is usually one of two types: education or special recognition. In either case, the meeting always begins with a report of total losses or gains, in pounds, for the week, as tabulated from the just-completed weight recording. Individual members are recognized for such things as losing the most pounds in one week among all the members. Small prizes are awarded to these "losers" (the word used within the confines of TOPS instead of "winners"). These prizes are funded from the weekly dues (one to two dollars) collected from the members. Special recognition involves more elaborate award ceremonies for "losers" based on several criteria such as most pounds lost in a month or year, best overall improvement, and maintaining goal-weight for a KOPS.
The most successful "losers" will also be recognized at regional and international conventions and will likely have an article printed about them in the bimonthly club newsletter, TOPS News.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "TOPS_Club,_Inc.". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|