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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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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