COLUMBUS, Ohio -- If you want to get fit this spring and are interested in living a healthier lifestyle -- and you have an email address -- Ohio State University Extension has a free educational program just for you.
Live Healthy, Live Well is an online challenge designed to help participants get fit by encouraging regular exercise and offering nutrition and wellness tips.
Participants are asked to sign up by Friday, April 20, for the challenge that begins on April 23. Participants will be asked to complete an online survey by May 2 at 11:30 p.m. During the six-week challenge, they'll receive emails twice a week with nutrition, health and fitness tips as well as recipes to help them get fit. Tips will also be shared via Facebook and posts on OSU Extension's Live Healthy, Live Well blog, http://livehealthyosu.com.
Food and activity logs will be available for download to help participants track their progress. A post-assessment online survey will be used to collect comments to improve future challenges and track participant progress.
As part of the challenge, participants will take part in a research study to determine the effectiveness of social media as a means of disseminating educational information. All participant information will be kept confidential.
"We have conducted online challenges similar to this before, and the top reason participants said they liked it was the ease of participation," said Cindy Shuster, one of the 13 family and consumer sciences educators with OSU Extension leading the project. "They didn't have to attend a meeting at a set date and time; they could read the emails in the middle of the night if they wanted to. That was something they really appreciated."
Three online challenges offered by OSU Extension in 2011 had 831 participants from Ohio and eight other states. Of those who completed the end-of-program surveys, 90 percent had either maintained or lost weight; 96 percent reported they learned new information; and 100 percent would recommend participating in another challenge.
To join the spring challenge, send an email to Shuster at email@example.com with "Live Healthy, Live Well" in the subject line and "subscribe" in the body of the email no later than April 20.