Some legislators may be taking the stairs rather than the elevator at the state capitol this year. Many have signed on to a wellness competition that pits them against their teenage assistants. The Public Health Department had offered legislators pedometers as part of its “Lighten Up, Iowa” initiative, hoping to pit Democrats against Republicans in a competition to find out who walked the distance to Washington, D-C first. But when pages like Kristy Palmer got wind of the competition, they wanted in on the action.Palmer, who’s a high school student from Manchester, says winning will be easy for her team because legislators keep the pages busy running errands for them — mostly for pop and food. But the team leader for the Senate isn’t ready to concede. Bettendorf Republican Maggie Tinsman says lawmakers outnumber the pages, making it easier to rack up the miles.Public health officials couldn’t be happier with competition. Tim Lane, a fitness consultant for the Department of Public Health, says the risk of contracting heart disease and cancer can be reduced with physical activity and good nutrition. He says 64 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese. He says it’s not rocket science, we’re burning less energy and consuming more. Lane says the 130 work sites that participated in “Lighten Up, Iowa” last year lost a total of 400 tons. Over 13-hundred office teams have signed up. this year. If you’re interested in signing up and lightening up, give the Department of Public Health in Des Moines a call.
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