Editorial: Healthy lifestyles and weight loss is a community effort

February 25, 2012

Battling obesity - a reality for an estimated 20 percent of all Americans - is an all-ages fight in Hood River County, for those willing to take it up.

Each week in February through March the Hood River News presents "Biggest Winner," a community-wide effort to help participants lose weight and improve their general wellness. This time of year, the topic is a prominent one in the Hood River News, but it's important to keep in mind that the active participation in Biggest Winner is a reflection of the many ways people around here demonstrate their consciousness about the importance of proper nutrition and exercise, along with maintaining appropriate weight levels.

Elementary schools in the district have enthusiastically embraced the Mighty Milers and fitness programs that combine exercise, including running, walking and stretching, with positive nutrition and lifestyle choices in young people. Even the Art Week programs in local schools include dance, agility and movement components that get kids up and moving.

OSU Extension faculty for the Family and Community Health program is meanwhile planning a workshop for those interested in leading strength-training programs for middle-aged adults, and while it is called "StrongWomen," it is intended to help people of both genders via training of people involved in nonprofits. (See page B4 for details.)

Community Education and Hood River Valley Adult Center regularly offer exercise and nutrition classes.

These are just a few examples. Meanwhile, in Biggest Winner in today's edition, Hood River's Alicia Beckman tells her compelling personal story of weight loss, fitness and improved general well-being. Beckman took it upon herself to make daily activity a part of her life. Every day she finds a way to move, and the results have been remarkable for her and her family. Of course, hers is not the only such story you might find in the community.

"Biggest Winner" has been under way for more than a month, and while it lists progress of individuals and teams involved in the third-annual wellness campaign, anyone reading the articles can consider them a resource for ways to lose pounds and gain wellness.

Beckman pared her message down to this essential statement: If you're moving, you are doing it right … Just move. Then celebrate!"

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