Health: Get Moving

Little Village is making a New Year’s Resolution to get fit. You can too.

A lot of New Year’s resolutions start out as good intensions, but by the time February rolls around they are forgotten and the “I’m going to lose weight this year” turns into a “I need to start working out,” which always inevitably becomes “I just don’t have time.”

TetherballIt’s a problem that thousands of people face. Unfortunately for some, avoiding exercise becomes a bigger problem. Thirty-seven percent of the population of Iowa is considered to be overweight and 28 percent of Iowans are obese, according to the 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey.

This means approximately 64 percent of Iowans have a higher risk of having or getting health problems like hypertension and heart disease. The good news is that these problems aren’t all genetic. Making changes in lifestyle can greatly enhance quality of life and ward of health complications.

Everyone knows that a proper diet and exercise is the magic recipe for losing weight, feeling better, increasing the healthy years of life and all those wonderful things. However, everyone also knows that it’s a lot harder to put that theory into practice.

The State of Iowa through support of the Iowa Sports Foundation, the Iowa Department of Public Health and Iowa State University Extension has developed a 100-day program called Live Healthy Iowa. This year the program runs from January 14 through April 23.

This program was launched in 2000 as Lighten Up Iowa to try and combat the growing obesity trends, and it has since spread into a national movement. This is the first year under the new moniker, which hopes to increase the reach of the program.

“We wanted to encompass a whole lifestyle change incorporating overall wellness instead of just weight loss and physical activity,” Nicole Bruce said. Bruce is the Health Initiative Coordinator for Live Healthy Iowa.

For a fee of $18, a participant in the program joins a team that can participate in either the weight loss division or the accumulated minutes of activity division, with the option of entering both divisions.

The entry fee provides access to an online program to track progress, and weekly emails with tips, recipes and tons of resources for activity and nutrition help. Registration also earns a year-long subscription to a lifestyle magazine and a spiffy new T-shirt.

“We’re hoping that providing people with information will help people change their choices and in turn help them change their lives in the long run,” Bruce said.

So instead of giving people resolutions to break, this program can really get people motivated to get active and make positive changes in their lives. It is a lot easier to reach a goal when there is a team working toward that goal as well, so Little Village is forming a team now. Team Little Village will participate in the division of Accumulated Minutes of Physical Activity, and we’ll sponsor at least one event each month where we can have fun the old fashion physical way–might be playing tetherball in Napoleon Dynomite wigs one month and synchronized knit-robics the next. To join the team officially or just take part in our ab-tastic events, email me at We’ll be posting these events on the blog as we get them organized, so keep a lookout.

During the challenge, go to for updates on the team’s achievements in the challenge. I’ll be updating the blog, sharing healthy ideas and suggestions I learn along the way. This is no competition for us. We just want to get moving. So take this as an opportunity, a more doable resolution, because we’ll all be in it together and motivating each other.

Don’t let skepticism stand in your way. Have some fun and do something this year that is sure to get you moving toward being a healthier person. Go Team Little Village!

Fast Facts
Here’s a few notes from

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  • The 100-Day Challenge starts January 14 and ends April 23
  • Teams are from 2 to 10 people large; larger groups can break into multiple teams
  • The $18 entry fee includes the following:
    • Training T-shirt
    • Weekly emailed wellness tips
    • One-year subscription to lifestyle magazine like Fitness, Heart Healthy Living or Men’s Journal
    • Personalized meal plans
    • Personal achievement tracking page online

Registrations are accepted throughout the program; to learn more about registering, visit the Live Healthy Iowa website.