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Move2Health Organizers Happy with Results Despite Missing Goal - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Move2Health Organizers Happy with Results Despite Missing Goal

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The Move2Health campaign was a call to action for all central Virginians to get moving and get healthy. The campaign set out to reach 1 million minutes of activity by New Year's Day, but it was so successful that the goal was met well ahead of schedule. That's when organizers decided to up the ante to 3 million minutes - but did central Virginians meet the mark?

Organizers were excited when central Virginians logged 1 million minutes by October.

"The goal with 1 million minutes was something that we felt we could reach. What we were surprised about is how fast we got there," said Elizabeth Beasley, senior health promotions consultant with the Thomas Jefferson Health District. "It was really exciting to see how fast those minutes added up and the fact that we were able to reach that goal so fast was really exciting," she said.

By December, central Virginians hit 2 million minutes of logged activity - but after a lull in activity over the holidays, the 3 million mark was a stretch by the end-of-the-year challenge deadline.

"We didn't quite get to three million, but we're still really excited with our results," Beasley said.

In the end, more than 2.4 million minutes of activity were logged for Move2Health, a campaign created after district-wide community health assessment data showed people in the region are becoming more obese.

"What we found is that obesity rates were rising and continuing to rise in our adult population over the past 25 years. It's not something that's new to us," said Beasley.

In addition, she said survey results from the Center for Disease Control reveal adults in the region aren't physically active, with more adults saying they're not getting exercise outside of their job - if they do exercise during their job.

"We wanted to basically raise awareness about the fact that things have changed in our society and we need to be more intentional about making healthy choices," said Beasley.

Community partners stepped in from schools, businesses, hospitals, local government, and nonprofits around the region. After months of planning, the program was launched and people got moving.

"We're just excited that we had all these excited participants," Beasley said.

For the total minutes moved, Region Ten took the top spot with more than 216,000 minutes of logged activity.

JAUNT won top spot for the average number of minutes logged, with more than 6,000 per team member. Region Ten's Executive Director Donna Shaunesey said part of the reason they were able to win is because the bus drivers realized how much time they actually move on the job, and logged that activity. "Most of us think they're just driving, but in fact they're moving wheelchairs, and helping people to their doors and carrying groceries so that adds up as well," she said.

"We're glad our folks moved because we deal with people that have health issues, so we want our folks here to be healthy as possible and moving is a big part of that," said Shaunesey.

People at the United Way also got involved and worked together as a team to get motivated. The organization came in second for average minutes moved per team member - with more than 5,000 per person.

"We all encouraged each other," said Kim Connolly, vice president of marketing and communications for the Jefferson-Area United Way. "We do a staff meeting every Monday morning. We did it standing up instead of sitting down," she said. "It's something small but it's just a psychological thing that helped us."

Connolly said Move2Health showed how small, easy steps can add up to a big change.

"I think that's what we liked about this challenge. It was about moving and not exercising, because exercising can sound boring," Connolly said ."Moving is when you go out there to the playground, play out there with the kids instead of sitting on the bench watching them. Very, very simple things."

So in the end, organizers and participants can agree that everyone involved in the campaign are winners.

"It was really exciting to see how the entire community came around it," said Connolly. "It really was a community-wide effort to get people to think about moving more. I think it was a success."

The Move2Health website will stay active for those who still want to log their minutes. Organizers say they'll now start working on a new challenge involving eating healthy that will hopefully launch sometime this year.

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