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New 90-day challenge to kick off 2011

Dec. 31, 2010 @ 05:23 PM

HUNTINGTON -- A new year calls for a new challenge, and that is just what Ebenezer Medical Outreach's Yvonne Jones has planned -- a new, 90-day challenge to help usher in a healthier and happier 2011. The challenge begins the week of Jan. 2 and will conclude Saturday, April 2, with a walk/race and health food festival at Pullman Square.

"It's the beginning of a new year and people are always making New Year's resolutions," Jones said. "This is not so much a resolution for a new year. It's more a resolution for a lifestyle change. This is not a temporary fix. It's ongoing."

Jones cited the latest Behavioral Risk Factor Survey released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in early December, naming the Huntington-Ashland Metropolitan Statistical Area with the second highest obesity rate in the nation at 39 percent.

"The Huntington-Ashland metropolitan area is once again in the news because it has one of the highest obesity rates in the nation. Only one area is higher," Jones said. "That is close to four out of every 10 people. This is an epidemic that not only has health consequences, but economic consequences."

The first 90-day challenge was issued in May 2010, followed by a holiday challenge during October, November and December. The first challenge of 2011 is encouraging people in three areas: diet, exercise and spirit. Tips include subtracting a processed food item and adding a fruit and vegetable each day; asking a trusted friend or family members to act as an exercise accountability partner; and, encouraging people to record one thing you are grateful for each day of the week.

"These are suggestions to help people take small steps to change their lifestyle," Jones said.

For veterans of the challenges, Jones is encouraging them to push a little more and think of something else that can aid them in their challenge or encourage someone new to try it. For newcomers to the program, Jones said the new calendar year is a perfect time to get motivated.

"If you continue to do things the same way all the time, you can't expect different results," she said. "If you want something different, now's the time to start."

Jones said the challenge team will be working to increase their outreach into the community by contacting churches and civic organizations to get them on board. Another goal, she said, is working with all forms of media to keep the challenge in front of the people.

"One of the things we've done differently this time is set up a Facebook page to help people communicate and keep track of their progress," she said. "We want people who are Facebook users to go to our page."

Search for "Healthy Huntington Revolution" on at www.facebook.com and send a request to join the group.

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