State health officials are applauding Iowans who took on a challenge during the first five months of this year to eat healthier and get more physical. The program “Lighten Up Iowa” gathered between 12-and-14-thousand Iowans on hundreds of teams. I-S-U Extension nutrition specialist Ruth Litchfield says a majority of participants wanted to lose weight, and they literally lost tons. Those who wanted to lose weight dropped 47-thousand pounds — or about 23-and-a-half tons. Others went for distance by walking, running or biking for two-point-six million miles. Litchfield says the goal wasn’t just five months of better eating habits and weight loss, but to help Iowans develop lifelong habits for healthier lifestyles. Another round of Lighten Up Iowa will start January 5th, 2004. For more information, check “”.