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90-Day Health Challenge wraps up with 5K run, walk

Aug. 29, 2010 @ 07:50 AM

HUNTINGTON -- The 8th annual Cabell-Wayne Association of the Blind 5K Run and Walk on Saturday morning at Ritter Park signified the completion of the 90-day health challenge.

Its goal was to get participants started on a path to a healthier lifestyle by making changes to their physical activity, diet and spiritual self. According to the sponsoring group, Huntington Health Revolution, the challenge was for anyone who wanted to make a change in their life.

For sisters Kathie Gue and Billie Smith of Lawrence County, Ohio, the challenge provided new motivations. The women characterized themselves as fairly healthy beforehand but still had some bad habits to shed. Gue no longer drinks diet sodas, while Smith eats fewer desserts. The two also found that being one another's accountability partner helped keep them on track.

"I'm feeling more in control of what I am eating," Smith said.

In June, a 12-week schedule of steps for healthier eating, exercise and spirit was published in The Herald-Dispatch and posted online. Participants each week added new steps, which were also featured in the newspaper. All of the program information is still available at www.herald-dispatch.com/specialsections/healthrevolution.

For Huntington resident Cornealia Palmer, the results of the 12 weeks of challenges has been more life changing. She's lost 25 pounds, and the Cabell-Wayne Association of the Blind's 5K walk was her second this summer.

"For me, it's all about the health benefits," Palmer said. "I'm able to get out and play volleyball with my daughter and not get winded.

"I sleep better and I'm more active with my kids, she added. "I just want to live longer."

She also said she has attended a Zumba class and found support from many people who have participated at some level with the Huntington Health Revolution challenge.

Among those is Sarah Denman, the former Provost of Marshall University who retired in 2008. She said she has lost a great deal of weight in the past several years by making lifestyle changes. She even took up a program at the HIT Center.

"The challenge really piggy-backed with what I had been doing," Denman said. "I wanted to be a part of the revolution because I believe Huntington is committed to a healthy lifestyle."

Ebenezer Medical Outreach, which has taken on the responsibility of Huntington's Kitchen after Bristish chef Jamie Oliver finished filming "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" last fall. After the show wrapped up the six-episode series in April for which it won an Emmy Award, many in the organization also came on board to help launch the 90-day challenge in late May.

Yvonne Jones, the executive director of Ebenezer Medical Outreach, said they received about 170 pledge cards from people who committed to the challenge. But she said she met many, many more who were participating on some level and had not sent a card in.

And she hopes that even more people will jump on board and build their own challenges to make needed lifestyle changes.

"I don't like to think of this as the end," Jones said. "It's the beginning. The 90-day challenge got you started."

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