Rusk County Program To Help Residents Get Fit
By KELLY GOOCH
Rusk County residents are encouraged to become fit by participating in a Texas AgriLife Extension Service program.
The program, titled "Step Up & Scale Down," is a 12-week educational program based on U.S. Department of Agriculture 2010 dietary guidelines, said Liz Buckner McKinney, county extension agent-family and consumer sciences.
"It's intended to help Americans choose a healthy eating plan within their calorie requirements and maintain a healthy weight ... with dietary guidelines," she said, adding that the program also shows how guidelines can promote health and reduce disease.
"In Rusk County, for several years, they have had a coalition called Leadership Encouraging Activity and Nutrition, and this is a community that's dedicated to those principles, and it has done a lot of work in one of our parks in Henderson ... (and) is involved in the farmers market, and wanted to start a fitness program."
Step Up & Scale Down includes 12 weekly lessons, and participants will view demonstrations of healthy recipes, among other things.
In conjunction with Step Up & Scale Down, the Texas AgriLife Extension Service is adding a physical component. When participants come to class, they can weigh in and keep track of how many miles they've walked, Ms. McKinney said.
She said the medical community in the area has been supportive of the initiative and will provide pedometers so participants can measure the steps they walk. Rusk County also has set aside $3,500 to pay for participants' binder notebooks.
The hope is that participants might see people they know at the meetings and continue their walking regimen when the program is over, Ms. McKinney said.
Rusk County Precinct 4 Commissioner Harold Howell said the program also might give county employees incentive to scale down and try to keep in shape.
"I was very supportive of it. It's just a good thing to try to help people get in shape and take better care of yourself ..." he said. "It's a good thing I think and will give a lot of people incentive."
Step Up & Scale Down meetings will take place on Wednesdays from March 21 through June 6 at the Rusk County Extension Office Meeting Room, 115 E. Fordall St. in Henderson. Classes are from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
A site also will be available for Tatum residents. Meetings there are scheduled for 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays, March 22 through June 7, at the Tatum Elementary School library, 420 N. Hill St.
The cost for the Step Up and Scale Down program is $10, which covers all sessions and includes a T-shirt.
For more information on the program or to register, call Ms. McKinney at 903-657-0376 or email email@example.com