Encouraging physical activity through a movement challenge
Public Health Problem
Whitfield and Murray counties in northwest Georgia are in Public Health District 1-2, which the BRFSS shows to have a higher than average rate of obesity and physical inactivity.
Increased physical activity can improve health, yet not enough people are active.
Walking is the most popular aerobic physical activity and is a low cost but highly effective way of meeting physical activity guidelines.
The Northwest Georgia Healthcare Partnership developed a movement challenge for the Whitfield and Murray counties. It began in 2009 with a “Two Million Mile Challenge”, but became so popular that four million miles were logged during 2010 and six million miles in 2011. The goal for 2012 and 2013 was eight million miles. The challenge “ran its course” at the end of 2013 after five years.
The Northwest Georgia Healthcare Partnership became an ACHIEVE (Action Communities for Health, Innovation and Environmental Change) community grant recipient and used the CDC’s CHANGE tool to assess both Whitfield and Murray counties
Miles were logged at a web site (mileschallenge.org). Provision has been made for conversion of many types of physical activity such as swimming, bicycling and even gardening into miles logged.
To help incentivize participants, Community in Motion awards color wristbands (bronze, silver, and gold) depending on the level of miles attained.
A popular feature of the initiative is the placement of large “Red Running Man” signboards in the two counties (eight signs in all). These signs featured the logo of the community initiative, a red-colored outline of a man running/walking. In addition, the signs had a thermometer showing the total number of miles logged which was periodically updated to show progress made.
Community in Motion sustained its efforts from 2009-2013 at very low cost to the community. By the end of 2013 more than eight millions miles were logged.
Over the five-year period, more than a thousand participants submitted data into the walking logs.
One of the leaders of Community In-Motion describes the initiative as “a movement not a program.”