Athens, Ga. – University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agents are proposing tips to help Georgians keep the pounds off during the holiday season. As part of a new program this year, agents are starting the Zero Weight Gain Challenge, which will include weekly emails about ways to reduce the holiday bulge.
“The average person gains about one pound during the holiday season, but if you don’t lose that pound, it can add up over the years,” said Connie Crawley, a Cooperative Extension food, nutrition and health specialist coordinating the statewide program. “The point is to help people to stay aware of what they’re eating.”
Georgia residents can contact their local Extension office to join the email list, which will begin during the week of Thanksgiving and extend through the beginning of January.
Topics include curbing cravings, staying active, moderating consumption, estimating portions, drinking more water and sending leftovers home with others.
“While writing the topics, I solicited tips from the agents, and there were some creative responses,” said Crawley, who is housed in the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences. “One measured her driveway and found that walking the length 10 times is a mile. Even if she can’t get away from the house, she can walk up and down the driveway with family. Another agent makes a point to drink two bottles of water before work, two during the workday and two at home at the end of the day.”
The challenge will lead into Cooperative Extension’s annual Walk Georgia program, which invites residents to track their physical activity and travel virtually across the state. Starting Feb. 10, Georgians will be able to log minutes of physical activity for the 12-week challenge.
“We send newsletters as reminders to log activity, which include great recipes and information about Georgia’s parks,” Crawley said. “There’s a local element to it and even competition. Several UGA deans are already talking about it.”
Crawley discovered the idea for the Zero Weight Gain Challenge during a national conference where Ohio’s Extension agents presented on their holiday challenge. She hopes to evaluate the program and expand topics for next year.
For more information or to find a county, see http://extension.uga.edu/about/county/index.cfm.
UGA Obesity Initiative
The University of Georgia Obesity Initiative addresses the growing epidemic of adult and childhood obesity and its related diseases. UGA combines instruction and research activities with its public service and outreach components to develop obesity prevention and treatment programs that interested Georgia communities, employers and health care providers can implement to improve the health of Georgia’s citizens and decrease the cost of health care in the state. See obesity.ovpr.uga.edu for more information.