Officials estimate two-thirds of the adults who live in Iowa are overweight and the state’s 65-year-old lieutenant governor is urging Iowans to exercise more and eat healthier foods.
Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge is urging Iowans to "take their heart in their hands" and join her in "The Lieutenant Governor’s Wellness Challenge." The free on-line program is a national effort designed, in part, to promote outdoor activities during the summer months. The lieutenant governors from several states are touting the effort.
Iowa’s lieutenant governor is a former nurse who admits she stopped exercising about 20 years ago and found herself more inclined to spend her leisure time in the recliner.
"One day I decided enough was enough and, if I was going to talk about being healthy, I’d better do something about it myself," Judge says. "So I started doing what I hadn’t done for years. I do watch what I eat. I did start going to a gym. I am proud than I am some 30 pounds lighter than I was 18 months ago."
The Centers of Disease Control estimates 67 percent of Iowans are overweight and 20 percent of Iowa kids are not just overweight, but obese.
"Now, these numbers are sad. They are not surprising," Judge says. "All you have to do is walk down the street and you can see that we are heavier. We are less physically-fit than we were a generation ago."
According to Judge, there’s "a growing understanding and acceptance" that we all have to eat better and exercise more.
While Judge has lost about 30 pounds in the past 18 months, Judge has lost a total of 45 pounds over more than two years. She’s had to buy a new wardrobe — and she’s recently taken up biking.
"A year ago, my husband gave me a bicycle for Mother’s Day and I hadn’t ridden a bicycle since I probably was a teenager or at least since I was in college," she says. "I just have a great time riding the bike on the trails here in the (Des Moines) metro."
The lieutenant governor plans to participate in the Des Moines "Heart Walk" this Saturday, June 6th. Sign up for the fitness challenge at www.ltgovernorschallenge.us and click on "Register."