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Published: Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013 11:36 a.m. CDT

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During the few days I was home at my parents’ house over Christmas, I did a little digging around in the back of my closet. Most of the Rubbermaid containers and cardboard boxes held prom photos and tickets to high school football games, but one tattered and folded piece of paper stood out from the rest: written in gel pen (remember those?), it was boldly titled “New Years Resolutions 2005.” And it was two pages long.

Apparently I was a wildly overzealous teenager — or was I just crazy?

“Wake up at 6 to go running before school every day.”

“Have all my homework done before dinner.”

“Give up drinking everything but water.”

“Go to sleep by 10 p.m. every night.”

Yeah, crazy.

I wouldn’t be able to stick with most of those things now, much less so when I was younger. In fact, I’m not really one for resolutions to begin with, at least not New Year’s ones.

I figure if you want to change something, why wait for a change in the calendar to prompt it? This, of course, could be due to my horrible track record when it comes to sticking with anything I resolve to change come each January 1. 

There’s a program gearing up across the state of Iowa, however, that just so happens to coincide with all this resolution business. I’m thinking it might be just the support I need, so I suggest you take a closer look if you’re determined to stick with some resolutions of your own.

I’ve known about Live Healthy Iowa for awhile now, purely as the result of my interactions with Skiff Medical Center, but we received a company-wide email the other day as encouragement to join the program as well. 

Here’s the basic information: LHI is a non-profit, grassroots organization that seeks to improve the lives of Iowans through the adoption of healthy lifestyle choices. Their main initiative manifests itself in the 10 Week Challenge, in which teams log activity minutes, weight loss and engage in a little competition while also supporting one another. 

The program emphasizes overall health, but weight loss is obviously tied in closely with this as well. John Stevens, Outreach Coordinator for LHI, presented us with some striking statistics regarding both Iowa and Jasper County in terms of health and where we fall.

Jasper County currently ranks 18th in obesity acorss the state of Iowa, with 35 percent of residents in the county categorically obese — that’s six percent higher than the state average. This ties in directly with the health care premiums you pay as the result of not only our state, but our country’s declining health.

Last night, I met with a man who lives here in town and, in the two years since he’s moved to Iowa, has signed up for the LHI Challenge twice. Check out today’s front page to read a bit more about Tyler, what he hopes to accomplish over the course of the next 10 weeks, and why he finds the support helpful in reaching his goals.

And, if you feel so compelled, join us for a meeting in the Skiff Inservice Room this afternoon at 4:30 to discuss LHI’s Challenge and how leaders within Newton and throughout the county hope to implement it beginning in a few weeks. Grab some information and take it to your youth group, your workplace or even your child’s third grade classroom — the kids’ program is free, after all. 

I’m not asking you to resolve anything (remember how I feel about those?), but if you’ve made any sort of committment to yourself or to your family regarding your health in 2013, I’d encourage you to take a closer look at Live Healthy Iowa and the support it has to offer.

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