Dickinson County Residents Urged to Participate in Live Healthy Iowa 100 Days Wellness Challenge
Several area organizations collectively known as Priority One that are dedicated to positively impacting the lives of all youth, families, and individuals within Dickinson County have teamed up to encourage Dickinson County residents to participate in the Live Healthy Iowa 100 Day Wellness Challenge. Live Healthy Iowa’s 100 Day Wellness Challenge is a program encouraging Iowans to become physically active and make healthy choices. Over the course of 100 days, teams engage in friendly competition by supporting and motivating each other. According to Priority One spokesperson Norm Johnson, it is a positive way to challenge and teach the importance of being active, eating healthy and making fitness fun. He said, “Our goal is to collaborate and impact 100 teams in Dickinson County for 100 days, under the Priority One umbrella, in order to promote healthy lifestyles. Obesity has become an epidemic and the second leading preventable cause of death in the United States next to tobacco. We want to do everything possible to reverse this trend in northwest Iowa by encouraging healthy lifestyle habits among Dickinson County residents.”
Across the United States, the incidence of Americans being overweight or obese is increasing at a considerable rate, resulting in higher risks for chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. This trend is not only occurring among adults, but also in younger and younger populations. In fact, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), the number of Iowa adults who are overweight or obese has increased by 36 percent over the last 10 years, making obesity a statewide epidemic. Furthermore, the IDPH states that two-thirds of Iowa’s adults and 30 percent of Iowa’s third graders are considered overweight or obese. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that for the first time in America’s history, children today will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents because of the alarming rate of obesity. Furthermore, one out of three children born in the United States today will become diabetic as a result of inactivity.
Johnson said, “It’s vital that our youth make a habit of being active and eating healthy. Research shows that nine out of ten teenagers who are inactive as youths are inactive as adults. Plus, 28 out of 29 obese teenagers remain obese as adults. Oftentimes kids mimic the lifestyles of their adult family members. We want to do everything we can to reverse these trends and make positive lifestyle trends for everyone in Dickinson County.”
For the Live Healthy Iowa 100 Day Wellness Challenge, adult teams of two to 10 will engage in friendly competition by tracking their exercise/activity and/or weight loss through the Live Healthy Iowa web site at www.livehealthyiowa.org. Teams may register in the “minutes of activity” division, the “weight loss” division or both. Each team participant will individually track and record their own minutes of activity and/or weight loss which will then be used to calculate the team’s total percentage.
Activities that count include anything considered intentional physical activity such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, running, using an elliptical machine, attending a fitness class, or lifting weights.
Weight loss teams are assessed on the combined weight of all members. Individuals can report their own weight online and the team totals are viewed as the percentage lost or gained. To maintain privacy, individual weights are viewed only by that individual.
To sign a team up, teams must register themselves online at www.livehealthyiowa.org. Upon entering the site, click “Sign Up Now”. Registration dates are now through February 28. The challenge officially begins on January 20 and goes through April 29. Participants must be at least 18 years old. Each team will have a designated captain who will have regular access to a computer and the internet. The captain will also be asked to provide the email addresses of team members who will be accessing Live Healthy Iowa online. Johnson asks people to register through the Priority One group using the group ID “LHIDCPO”. When doing so, each participant will receive $5 Chamber Bucks to be used at several area businesses (which can be picked up at the Bedell Family YMCA). Upon completion of the registration form, payment for the entire team will be requested. The cost per registrant is usually $20, but is reduced to $15 with the a HyVee coupon. Participants can get the coupon by going to www.hy-vee.com, clicking on the “Health” tab and selecting “Live Healthy America.” After scrolling halfway down the page, there is a link to download the coupon. The coupon will have a promotional code on it to be entered online at the time of team registration to receive the discount.
Live Healthy Iowa participants will receive:
• Live Healthy Iowa t-shirt
• Weekly activity, nutrition, and recipe tips
• Personal online tracking page
• Live Healthy America Health and Wellness book
• One year subscription to one of a choice of lifestyle magazines
• Meal plans, workouts, and more
Johnson added that Dickinson County residents that participate through the entire challenge will be entered into a drawing to receive a prize package valued at over $1,500.
The health benefits of participation in the Live Healthy Iowa challenge are substantial. For example, within one hour of exercise, the immune system is boosted to fight off colds and flu and calories are burned at a higher rate. Within one day of exercise, lean muscle is added, the heart becomes healthier, and the participant becomes more alert and focused. Within one month of exercise, muscular endurance increases, belly fat is blasted, and more brain power is developed.
Those that wish to participate in the challenge but do not have internet access can still participate by seeing Keeli at the Bedell Family YMCA at 1900 41st Street in Spirit Lake. Johnson said, “Keeli will help you get a team together, record your data, and answer any questions you have.”
Anyone with questions about participation in the Live Healthy Iowa 100 Day Wellness Challenge is encouraged to call Keeli at the Bedell Family YMCA at 712-336-9622.
The collective group of members that represent the community and are known as Priority One is comprised of the American Cancer Society of Dickinson County, Bedell Family YMCA, Compass Pointe Behavioral Health Services, Dickinson County Supervisor, Dickinson County Attorney, Iowa Child Advocacy Board, Iowa State University Extension, Lakes News Shopper, Lakes Regional Healthcare/Dickinson County Public Health, Lutheran Lakeside Camp, RSVP of Dickinson County, Spirit Lake Community Schools, Spirit Lake Police Department, Upper Des Moines Opportunity, and Voluntary Action Center.