OUR VIEW: Competition aimed at getting healthy

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Residents here are getting the opportunity to race against people two states over in the City of Hammond, La., as part of a trial program aimed at encouraging healthy lifestyles.

The walk-a-thon competition is sponsored by the Delta Regional Authority as part of their leadership forum, in which Mayor Cecil Williamson is participating.

They mayor says the program is an excellent way for our community to get involved in a regional effort that has the simple goal of making people healthier and happier. More than that, those involved in this walk-a-thon will help the Delta Regional Authority as they possibly develop this program for other states.

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The genesis of the program comes from the leadership forum&8217;s breaking members into separate groups with individual focuses. Made up of eight states, the Delta Regional Authority looks at programs that would have a common interest among its membership and the areas it serves.

For certain, obesity and mortality rates are higher in the South than in other parts of the United States. For that reason, programs such as this walk-a-thon are advantageous endeavors for groups such as the Delta Regional Authority.

The competition between the two cities is a unique way to help breed excitement and get people involved. Furthermore, the competition seeks to get citizens of all ages on the treadmills, by having categories for teenagers and for adults over the age of 21.

Prizes are being given to the top three walkers in each age group, and the winning city&8217;s hospital will be the recipient of a grant from the Delta Regional Authority.

Furthermore, the program is broken into two competitions, one for the city who logs the most miles and one for the city who averages the most miles per walker. This provides for cities of varying sizes to be on equal footing in the competition.

We applaud the mayor for this simple yet innovative program, and we hope that our citizens will get active, get involved and get walking.