Communities neck and neck in health competition

MARQUETTE – The semi-results of the Healthy Lifestyle Journal: Community Wellness Challenge 2013 are in. And it looks like Gwinn might have stronger competition for the win than in the previous two years.

With two weeks left to go, Gwinn is currently leading the way in nutrition, but Marquette has pushed past the three other regions and taken the lead for exercise.

“We were so excited to see Marquette take the lead, but the problem is many people wait until the very end to get all their logging done, so it could all change in two weeks,” said Deb Sergey, RD, IC Supervisor, MGH Wellness Center, Marquette.

She said that the numbers are very close in all four areas, which include Marquette, Gwinn, Ishpeming and Negaunee. Sergey added that participants have until April 1 to submit all of their log information. Team leaders plan to have the final results announced by April 12.

While Sergey believes it’s anyone’s game, Gwinn leader Julie Shaw said she believes Gwinn will win in the end.

“We need to work on exercise a little bit more, but that just motivates us more… I think we’ll win again.”

Gwinn has won each year that the challenge has been held.

Win or lose, Gwinn resident Richard Adams, who has been participating in the challenge all three years, said he simply enjoys having winter activities to partake in.

“I didn’t realize my diet was so bad until I started to keep track of my fruits and vegetable and realized I don’t eat enough of either.”

Adams said being retired, it left him with a lot of time on his hands. The HLJ has helped fill his evenings with an opportunity to move and learn more and develop new friendships.

Jeri Mommarts, the fitness leader for the Marquette region, said her favorite thing about the HLJ is the fact that it caters to all levels.

“We have people with varying levels of abilities and each one of them has a great attitude.”

She said on a recent snowshoe outing, they received a heavy amount of snowfall and she worried how participants would handle it.

“I was nervous people would think it was too much, but they showed up and on our next snowshoe activity we not only had that same group of people, but our group had doubled.”

She said the number one reason the HLJ is worth it is the support offered by those around you. By working alongside group members, Mommarts said it holds individuals accountable.

This week each region will focus on education, with the topics being nutrition, food journaling and revisiting goals. The fitness portion will focus on staying connected on how to continue with a healthy lifestyle after the challenge has ended.

“It’s my hope that participants will realize that if they want to continue with good health, they have to continue with making those changes. This is a lifestyle,” Sergey said.

The winning region will have a banner posted in their area. Various prizes will also be awarded to the top teams and individuals.

Abbey Hauswirth can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 240.