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Iowa State University Extension


Iowans: Take the challenge to live healthy

Live Healthy Iowa

Like a New Year’s resolution, going on a diet may seem like a good idea, but without a long-term commitment -- in this case, to better health -- the results likely won’t last. To make sure the commitment is up front and center, the annual challenge known for seven years as Lighten Up Iowa has become Live Healthy Iowa for 2009. The new name better reflects what the program is all about, said Ruth Litchfield, an ISU Extension nutrition specialist.

Often people thought that the purpose of Lighten Up Iowa was merely weight loss. However, Litchfield said, “What we’re all about is healthier living through good nutrition, physical activity and emotional wellness. We want everyone in Iowa to live healthy.”

The Live Healthy Iowa 100 Day Challenge is a team-based weight loss and physical activity program, Litchfield said. Adult team members help each other begin to form healthy habits through physical activity and improved nutrition.

Regardless of the name, since the program began in 2002, more than 74,000 Iowans have participated, have become more active and have lost more than 153 tons of weight, according to Live Healthy Iowa statistics.

“Live Healthy Iowa encourages you to set realistic goals and make informed decisions about your health,” Litchfield said. “We’re challenging all Iowans to get on a team and make those changes.”

Teams don’t have to work out at a gym, though that’s certainly one way to boost physical activity.

“Walking is a great physical activity. Cleaning the house counts as physical activity. There also are the new Wii systems — Wii Fit has some yoga, strengthening, conditioning and aerobic activities. These count as physical activity for the Live Healthy Iowa 100 Day Challenge,” she said.

Iowa youth may participate in Live Healthy Iowa Kids, Litchfield said. For more information or to register a youth or adult team, visit the Live Healthy Iowa Web site.

This article appeared in January 2009 -- From Jack Payne Newsletter