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Healthy Yuma 2011 off to a running start
About 1,000 people in Yuma came together Saturday to champion the cause of living a healthier lifestyle during the Healthy Yuma 2011 Welcome Rally held on the lawn of Cocopah Casino in conjunction with the Yuma Territorial Marathon and Half Marathon.
“There isn’t another community anywhere that has taken the approach where we want to change the whole community,” Dr. Carl Myers, a local healthy living advocate, told the Yuma Sun during the event.
“We are a big experiment, and a year from now, if we meet our goals and lose 140 tons as a community and run or walk 3 million miles, Yuma will be on the map as the most successful healthier lifestyle effort ever done, and that is our goal. This is an effort to do a full-court press in 2011.”
Several booths were set up to give attendees information about how to get healthier.
Each booth concentrated on one of the four areas Healthy Yuma 2011 was created to improve on: exercise, nutrition, weight-loss management and overcoming addiction.
“It worries us a community and certainly as a hospital that we have a community that is maybe not the healthiest,” Machele Headington, event chairperson, said.
“We are hoping, in a year from now, we will be the healthiest and have made the most improvement compared to other communities. When we started this journey, we started very small. Everyone wants to be healthy, but that is a lot easier to do when everybody else around you is healthy. So peer pressure in a positive sense is very good, and we’ve certainly experienced that today.
“Everybody wants to be a part of this, and I think that says a lot. We’ve had a great turnout today, and combine that with the Caballeros de Yuma’s Territorial Marathon, I mean, what a great time.”
Being healthy includes eating right and getting exercise, Headington said.
“That is why we made tracking cards. We are actually weighing people and taking their blood pressure because we want them to understand their blood pressure can be improved by eating the right things and exercising. They don’t necessarily have to take this medicine or this drug to make them feel better. If you eat right and exercise you can go off those medications or never go on them.”
Myers said it is important for the entire community to choose healthier habits.
“As a country, we are going in the wrong direction. Our weight has gone up. The rates of obesity in adults has doubled in the last 20 years. In children, it has tripled. We are much more sedentary compared to where we used to be. Our country is essentially broke and can’t spend enough to repair the problems we are having because of our unhealthy lifestyles.”
Getting healthy will save the community a large amount of money by keeping people out of the doctor’s office, Myers said.
“We don’t have the money to repair ourselves, so we had better keep ourselves in good repair and be very proactive. People should eat healthy and exercise. What is so important about Healthy Yuma 2011 is the community aspect of it.”
For more information about Healthy Yuma 2011, log onto healthyyuma2011.com.
Chris McDaniel can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6849.