Extension News

Lighten Up Iowa and Go the Distance Receive National Award


AMES, Iowa – National health professionals recently recognized the Lighten Up Iowa and Go the Distance programs through the 2006 Jeanne M. Priester Award.

The annual award recognizes Cooperative Extension System programs that positively affect the health of people across the United States and that provide the leadership to expand Extension’s capacity to effectively implement health programs.

Lighten Up Iowa (for adults) and Go the Distance (for youth) operate on the theory that if participants increase daily physical activity and make better dietary choices, weight loss will follow and health status will improve.

“The friendly team competition has been invaluable to support individuals’ efforts in choosing healthier nutrition and physical activity habits,” said Ruth Litchfield, Iowa State University Extension nutrition specialist. “Local support, in the form of community breakfasts and mini-grants, have stimulated participation.”

The 2006 Lighten Up Iowa and Go the Distance programs continue through May 31 and include more than 33,000 participants representing all 99 counties. “Participants have already outpaced previous years by losing 107,855 pounds and logging 45,168,252 minutes of physical activity (approximately 3,011,216 miles),” Litchfield said.

More than 150 Iowa State University Extension staff invested more than 10,000 hours in helping with the program since 2003.

The state-wide program is sponsored by ISU Extension, the Iowa Department of Public Health and Iowa Games. More information is available at www.lightenupiowa.org.


Contacts :
Ruth Litchfield, Ph.D., Food Science and Human Nutrition, (515) 294-9484, litch@iastate.edu
Deborah Martinez, Coordinator of Lighten Up Iowa, (888) 777-8881, deborah@lightenupiowa.org 
Tim Lane, Iowa Department of Public Health, (515) 281-7833, tlane@idph.state.ia.us
Diane Nelson, Extension Communications and Marketing, (515) 294-3178, dinelson@iastate.edu