The state of Iowa is 23 and a half tons lighter these days after a five-month program to promote healthy eating and physical activity. The Iowa Games, Iowa department of Public Health and Iowa State University extension joined forces to promote “Lighten Up Iowa”, in which nearly 14-hundred teams of Iowans competed by recording their physical activity and their weight-loss during the length of the program. Tim Lane of the health department says a lot of Iowans may’ve just maintained their weight, which he says is also a significant step. He says about 12-thousand Iowans took part in the competition that was designed in part to change habits. He says that’s why the program was five months long, to give people a chance to change their habits. Lane says they were very happy with the response to the program. He says other states have taken Iowa’s lead and initiated similar programs. Lane says because of the response there will be another “Lighten Up Iowa” beginning January fifth. He says they need to keep it fresh, but until the need to stop obesity ends, they’ll keep doing the program. Lynne Allen is the Coordinator of “Lighten Up Iowa” and says they were pleasantly surprised by the response. She says they were hoping to have 500 teams and had to scramble when nearly three times that many showed up. Allen says the January start of the next competition is perfect timing for those who are looking for a new start, or to shed holiday pounds.