St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital has announced the launching of a new TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) chapter at its Coaldale campus.

The mission of the weight-management group is to support members as they take and keep off pounds sensibly. It embraces a powerful, common-sense approach to weight loss and maintenance that encourages healthful eating, regular exercise, camaraderie and support.

"Being a part of the obesity crisis, I decided it was time to be a part of the solution for myself and for others," said Kathy Ruff, Coaldale. "For me, doing it alone hasn't worked. I decided accountability, encouragement and support from others encountering similar challenges would be one way to be part of that solution."

A nonprofit, non-commercial network of weight loss support groups with nearly 170,000 members throughout the United States and Canada, TOPS teaches members how sensible nutrition, portion control and other lifestyle changes can add quality to one's life and promote lifelong health.

The chapter will meet at Miners Memorial Hospital each Wednesday, beginning July 21, in the hospital's education room. Weekly meetings begin at 6 p.m. with weigh-ins followed by an informational program from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge. There are annual and local dues.

For more information about Coaldale's TOPS group, call Ruff at (570) 645-3059 or e-mail katrina@ptd.net. For more information about TOPS Club, Inc., call 1-800-932-8677 or visit its website online at www.tops.org.