DENVER – While Colorado has one of the lowest obesity rates in the nation, more than half the state’s residents are overweight or obese.
Gov. John Hickenlooper plans to announce a statewide challenge today using online tools, giveaways and community support to encourage Coloradans to be more active, whether they walk, dance, garden, do yoga or something else.
The Get Movin’ challenge by the nonprofit organization LiveWell Colorado will allow residents to go online to log their daily physical activity from Aug. 1 to 30. Participants who log 30 days of activity with an average of at least 30 minutes daily in that time will get a free shirt. Those who log 15-29 days of activity, with an average of 30 minutes of activity daily, will get a hat.
Any participant is eligible for drawings for prizes including an Epic Pass for Vail Resorts Inc. ski areas or an entry in the Pedal The Plains bicycle tour. People can start registering today.
“It provides an opportunity for everyone in Colorado – kids, older people, no matter where they live, no matter what kind of shape they’re in now – to participate and become healthier and try to incorporate physical activity in people’s lives that they can sustain, even after the challenge is completed,” LiveWell Colorado CEO Maren Stewart said.
“It might start a habit that might last a lifetime,” Stewart said.
Health care provider Kaiser Permanente is sponsoring the program. Costs weren’t immediately disclosed. Organizers are hoping for 5,000 participants.
LiveWell Colorado says that about one in five adults Coloradans are obese, and more than half are either obese or overweight.
For adults, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends about 150 minutes of activity per week that’s at the level of a brisk walk. But a study by the CDC shows 18 percent of adults in Colorado reported getting no physical activity in the past month.
Stewart and Dr. Jandel Allen-Davis of Kaiser Permanente cite a mix of factors for people not getting enough exercise. Some people may be working two jobs while raising families, while others may be too intimidated to go to a gym.
“It’s not necessarily about going to the gym every day or running a marathon,” Stewart said.
A healthier Colorado could mean lower health care costs and higher productivity in workplaces, Stewart said.
Helping people eat better, get more physical activity and assume more responsibility for their own health is key to helping bring down health care costs, Allen-Davis said.
“This challenge encompasses the personal responsibility piece. You have to move,” Allen-Davis said. “What we know from behavior change is when people start doing this activity, they get confident and then say, ‘What else can I do.”’
Allen-Davis acknowledged self-reporting could allow people to exaggerate what they do or forget to log a day. “We’re not going to let anything discourage us,” she said.
Colorado recently launched a voluntary, incentive-based wellness program for state employees. Door to Door Organics Inc. agreed to deliver 528 snack boxes of organic fruit to dozens of state offices in two waves this summer.