The Ottumwa Courier

May 17, 2013

Wellness challenge asks people to live healthy

BY CINDY TOOPES
COURIER STAFF WRITER

---- — OTTUMWA — Are you ready for the Live Healthy Iowa 10-Week Wellness Challenge?

Some of the city employees joined Live Healthy Iowa, and Jody Gates, the city's health director, was captain of one of the two teams of about a dozen people.

"Our goals for both teams were to become more active, and both teams had a goal to lose weight," Gates said Friday. "Both teams were successful. They tracked how active they were and logged in at the Live Healthy Iowa website."

On the website (www.livehealthyiowa.org), they noted things like how much exercise they had for the day and whether it was running, walking, swimming or some other form of activity to burn calories.

"We talked about it in our group and asked how everyone was doing," Gates said. "We also asked what they were doing to be successful. It was always the topic of conversation and that keeps it in the forefront."

Joni Elder works in the Wapello County Health Department, and she worked on the Community Transformation Grant titled Get Fit 10-Week Challenge, which will run for five years.

"We partner with Healthy Iowa Program, and we promote that through my grant," Elder said.

Gates said it'll be interesting to see what happens from the end of the challenge to the end of the year.

"This is an annual program, and we've found it to be beneficial," she said. "I was surprised how many calories there were in various foods."

Gates recalled going to her favorite drive-through and ordering what she liked. After she told someone she liked eating lunch there, she counted the calories in her food.

"Oh my word, but I don't want my day's calories consumed in one meal," she said. "So, I had to pick something else. That did cause me to pay closer attention to nutrition values in food."

Gates also said her teams brought along recipes that had nutritional values attached so everyone could know what was in the food.

"We didn't go out on runs, but we did participate in exercises or healthy activities and reported back," she said. "I've participated, and I hope other team members are happy they participated, too."