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Walk Across Arizona—Promoting Physical Fitness
By moniquegarcia on Mon, 08/19/2013 - 1:33pm
Arizona has one of the fastest growing populations in the nation, with an accompanying increase in obesity and diabetes. Nationwide, 18 million people have full-blown diabetes and another 41 million already have pre-diabetes. Almost 65 percent of adults are either overweight or obese and 20 to 30 percent of children are overweight or at risk for becoming overweight. Regular physical activity can help prevent or improve these conditions. Walking is a local, inexpensive and convenient way to develop fitness and healthy habits.
Description of Action:
Begun in 2001, “Walk across Arizona” is 16-week walking program designed for teams of 10 people each, administered through Arizona Cooperative Extension and the UA’s Community Health Advancement Partnership. Teams of friends, neighbors, co-workers and families include people of all ages, from children to senior citizens. Each county has a link on the Walk Across Arizona site, where team captains can access forms and record weekly miles, and county coordinators can manage the program and update local activities. Nutrition, energy levels, social interaction and other factors are also tracked.
During 2001, the first year of the campaign, 34 teams with 329 registered participants walked 48,872 miles. In contrast, 284 teams (52 percent increase from 2007 of 10 individuals walked 663,453 miles with 2,147 registered participants in Cochise, Graham, Maricopa, Pima, Pinal, Navajo and Yuma counties. Statewide since its inception, 917 teams with 8,086 participants (some repeated) from 13 of Arizona’s 15 counties have reported walking a combined 1,798,134 miles. Data analyzed from 2005-2007 participants identified the top three benefits of participation: 1) Increased exercise they were already doing, 2) Increased their energy, and 3) Helped them to feel less stressed.