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UK Urges Kentuckians: Get Moving!

Contact: Jill Holder

Photo of Linda Jourdine, HEEL Program Director, explaining the Get Moving Kentucky! program while President Lee T. Todd Jr. looks on.
Linda Jouridine, HEEL Program Director, explains the Get Moving Kentucky! program while President Lee T. Todd Jr. looks on.

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"With Get Moving Kentucky!, UK Cooperative Extension Service is taking the lead in a statewide campaign to promote physical activity. Extension agents throughout the state are in daily contact with individuals and families. They are our best ambassadors and have a forum to mobilize communities to improve their health.”

-- Lee T. Todd Jr.,
president,
University of Kentucky

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 24, 2003) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported Kentucky to be the least active state in the nation. Physical inactivity increases risks associated with obesity as well as several other health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and depression.

Representatives from the University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University announced the new physical activity program of Health Education through Extension Leadership (HEEL) to help Kentuckians become more physically active. The HEEL Get Moving Kentucky! Physical Activity Awareness Campaign will utilize county extension agents to promote physical movement in order to combat obesity and other serious health conditions in Kentucky.

HEEL represents a partnership between the UK College of Medicine and its School of Public Health, and the College of Agriculture and its Cooperative Extension Service. The Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service is a cooperative effort between UK, KSU, the United States Department of Agriculture and every Kentucky county.

"With Get Moving Kentucky!, UK Cooperative Extension Service is taking the lead in a statewide campaign to promote physical activity,” said UK President Lee T. Todd Jr.

“Extension agents throughout the state are in daily contact with individuals and families. They are our best ambassadors and have a forum to mobilize communities to improve their health,” Todd said.

Aside from reducing obesity, regular physical activity can reduce the risk of developing or dying from heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, and high blood
pressure. It can also reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

The program will function through health education specialists and county extension agents who will collaborate with health departments, school systems, and community organizations throughout the state to take basic health education to the public. The specialists and extension agents will apply the latest research-based strategy, technology, and programs that have shown evidence of effectiveness in producing health behavior change and mobilizing communities to improve their health.

HEEL, in combination with current programs in rural health services and wellness education programs, is meant to enhance Cooperative Extension agents' capacity to deliver health education statewide.

“People of all ages can benefit from physical activity,” said Linda Jouridine, Ed. D., HEEL program director, UK College of Agriculture and UK School of Public Health.

“Physical activity does not have to be difficult or take up much of your day to improve your health. Even a 10-minute walk a day will put you on the path to better health,” Jouridine said.

Get Moving Kentucky! is an eight-week activity program for teams of four people (one captain plus three team members) or individuals. Captains and individuals submitting all program forms may be eligible for a prize drawing at a final recognition and awards activity.

HEEL is made possible, in part, through earmarked funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, led the effort to secure this funding with an initial award of an $800,000 in January 2002.

Todd also announced today that $200,000 from the HEEL grant will be awarded in the form of mini-grants to county extension agents. They will be made available to serve as additional tools for continued health and physical activity programming at the community level.

CHA-Health and Humana-Kentucky will provide additional funding to support Get Moving Kentucky! Their contributions will provide incentives that will help extension agents motivate participants to meet their physical activity goals.

For more information about HEEL, please visit www.ca.uky.edu/heel/.


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