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Wellness Challenge pays off for some participants

May 26, 2003|BY SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Nancy Hill and her husband, Nicholas, have heard about and tried various ways to improve their exercise and eating habits, but what really has helped them in recent months, she said, is the Washington County Wellness Challenge.

The Hills were two of about 180 people who attended at least one of the program's sessions, said Angela Kershner, the exercise specialist for the Washington County Health Department. About 30 to 40 people attended the program's monthly sessions, she said.

The program, which began in April, addresses healthier eating, increased physical activity and stress-management strategies for county residents of all ages.

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The program's final session for its first year is Tuesday, but there are plans for it to resume in the fall, Kershner said.

The Hills, from Clear Spring, began attending the program in September, Nancy Hill said.

They listened to the speakers and were given challenges, such as to exercise five days a week or eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, she said.

They already were trying to make similar changes but "we needed some reinforcement," Nancy Hill said. "It was like a support group."

It also helped to get the information from reputable local sources, she said.

"More people need to be properly informed by someone who knows what they are talking about and not just propaganda," she said. "We were very pleased with the information we received."

The Health Department will use feedback from the Hills and other participants to make improvements for the fall session, Kershner said.

In addition to providing information, the sessions are hands-on, literally.

More information about the Wellness Challenge program can be obtained by calling 301-791-3039.

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