Northeast Tarrant

Wellness program challenge means healthy living in 2017

Fong sisters (l-r) Samantha (age 7), Katie (9), and Elizabeth (12) ride and skate along the sidewalk near their home in Southlake, Texas, on December 28, 2016. The entire family, including dad Terry and mom Grace, took part in The LiveFit Southlake Wellness Challenge in 2016.
Fong sisters (l-r) Samantha (age 7), Katie (9), and Elizabeth (12) ride and skate along the sidewalk near their home in Southlake, Texas, on December 28, 2016. The entire family, including dad Terry and mom Grace, took part in The LiveFit Southlake Wellness Challenge in 2016. Special to the Star-Telegram

Besides losing weight and earning prizes, last year’s LiveFit Southlake Wellness Challenge participants started positive lifestyle changes that stuck around long after the contest ended.

A new year brings a new eight week challenge which begins Jan. 14 at The Marq, 285 Shady Oaks Drive.

Jared Darnell, Southlake recreation coordinator, said taking part in the challenge helps people achieve overall happiness as they learn to make better diet decisions, begin new fitness routines and get to know community members.

Southlake resident Grace Fong can attest to those results. Grace Fong and husband Terry Fong, along with their three daughters, Elizabeth, 12; Katie, 9; and Samantha, 7; participated last year with more than 400 people in the city’s first LiveFit challenge.

Grace Fong and her husband Terry were top winners among residents and Katie won in the children’s category.

Fong said after her girls became interested in the challenge, she and Terry Fong joined in.

“We started going to all of the events,” Grace Fong said. “And it wasn’t just about exercising.”

She said her children enjoyed activities such as taking a walk with Mayor Laura Hill, going to the Bob Jones Nature Center & Preserve, participating in a 5K and in Camp Gladiator, while competing with each other along the way.

“Before church they would run around the driveway to get more steps,” Fong said. “Cool prizes, fun activities, meeting different people in the community ... it’s a good way to motivate yourself.”

Darnell said purpose of the challenge is to help promote a healthy lifestyle which not only includes diet and fitness but also getting people out in their community and away from the television or computer to build relationships.

“It is these relationships that make Southlake and the surrounding cities such a great place for families,” Darnell said.

Implementing community-wide activities such as LivFit will help address a statewide issue.

“While Texans are choosing to improve their health by reducing smoking and increasing mental health, Texas now has the 10th highest adult obesity rate in the nation and obesity rates have risen 10.7 percent since 2000,” he said, citing information from The State of Obesity 2016 report from Trust for America's Health.

All participants in the LiveFit Southlake Wellness Challenge will receive free entry to the Southlake Superhero 5k and Fun Run on April 1 at Bicentennial Park.

Participants can earn points by doing daily activity, which is tracked through devices (such as FITBIT) and synced to a wellness portal. For those without a tracking device, data can be entered manually. Attending city events will also earn participants points.

“The registration is free and completely open to the public,” Darnell said. “Everyone is welcome to join.”

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