The community challenge program continues as a grand way to start the New Year with healthy goals

One of the great New Year's traditions in Jefferson County is the Movin' Mountains Slimdown Challenge. It's back again for its 2017 campaign.

Each January, hundreds of men and women within the countywide community take the challenge to lose weight and learn about, if not adopt, a healthier lifestyle. It's led to thousands of pounds and inches shed, and thousands of dollars in prize money won.

Most importantly, it's led to a healthier, certainly more health-conscieous, local population.

The challenge grew from a program orchestrated by two health professionals, Carolyn Harvey and Beth Ann Beamer, about a decade ago, through the impetus of Mountain View Hospital (where Beamer worked) and Jefferson County Health Department (where Harvey worked) as a way to improve community health.

When the hospital ownership changed, its financial backing for Movin' Mountains was eventually eliminated. But Harvey and Beamer didn't let the program die — and the county health department stepped up it's funding support.

Movin' Mountains has proven to be a smart, vital, important event in the community. It's no secret that the county has some negative health statistics compared to other rural counties. Movin' Mountains attacks that head-on.

While a couple hundred people sign up and actively participate in Movin' Mountains, countless others are drawn in via supporting family members, co-workers and friends. Many are too shy to participate publicly, but are still inspired to get more active and eat smarter.

The health department needs to be congratulated for stepping up and keeping Movin' Mountains strong. And kudos to Carolyn Harvey, who continues to key the organization of the event, coordinate sponsorships, and lead a small army of volunteers that carry out the challenge.

- Tony Ahern

Contract Publishing

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