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Clarke County encouraged to join Live Healthy Iowa’s 10-week challenge

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014 9:38 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014 9:54 a.m. CDT

What’s the first step to becoming healthy? It’s being proactive.

“You have these grand ideas, and then it’s just where do I start?” said Shawn Johnson, who oversees Clarke County participants involved in Live Healthy Iowa’s 10-week challenge. “There’s so much information out there. You get bogged down. You get overwhelmed. You go, ‘Well, I’ll just wait.’ The biggest thing is you just have to do something. So start doing something … you’re not going to see change if you just sit on the couch.”

What is Live Healthy Iowa?

As part of Iowa Sports Foundation, Live Healthy Iowa began in 2002 as a friendly competition encouraging Iowans to “Lighten Up” and adopt healthier lifestyles through increased physical activity and smarter nutrition choices.

As for the challenge, in the course of 10 weeks, from Jan. 27 to April 4, teams of two to 10 people track activity minutes and/or weight loss through the Live Healthy Iowa website. The web-based challenge provides Iowans with an opportunity to improve their health while engaging in friendly competition.

If people are interested in joining the 10-week challenge, they should go to www.livehealthyiowa.org. A two-person team can even consist of a husband and wife.

For a fee of $20, participants receive a challenge T-shirt, chances to win prizes, weekly motivational emails, unlimited access to online recipes, workouts and health information, an access card for health and wellness discounts across Iowa and free registration to winter and summer Iowa Games fitness walks and Zumba.

In 2013, more than 250,000 Iowans, including adults and youths, took part in the challenge.

Johnson said if people are interested in doing the 10-week challenge, but don’t have a team, they may contact him through email about joining a team. His email is johnsonselitetraining@gmail.com

Serious problem

How serious is Iowa’s and the nation’s problem with obesity?

According to an information sheet handed out during a Live Healthy Iowa meeting for Clarke County, the state of Iowa is the 12th most obese state in in the U.S.

Since 1991, obesity rates in the U.S. have risen 60 percent, and by 2020, obesity will be the biggest killer on the planet. Obesity in children has tripled since 1980.

Thirty percent of U.S. military hopefuls fail the physical test because they are obese.

When asked why people should join Live Healthy Iowa’s challenge, Johnson said to start building healthy habits and making it fun.

“I would say to have a reason, to have some type of excitement on trying to be healthy,” Johnson said. “They’re going to get weekly emails on tips. I’m going to do an exercise of the week for the 10 weeks. That way, everybody has a fitness goal.”

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