Walking Challenge Winners Announced

Walking Challenge WinnersAccording to data published by the Texas Department of State Health Services, two out of every three El Paso adults are overweight or obese. With obesity being a known risk factor for diabetes, cancer, heart attack, stroke and disability, healthy weight management is key to averting an impending public health crisis—especially on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Fortunately, simple lifestyle modifications can help achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Organizers of El Paso's Walk the Walk Team Challenge, a monthlong walking challenge that incentivizes employees to walk more throughout the workday, say there is a misconception that weight loss requires joining a gym or running long distances. Often those approaches lead to short-lived changes that reduce the likelihood of long-term success. Instead, just adding some extra steps in your day can get you on the path to improved health.

In April, Walk the Walk participants formed teams of 10, each represented by a captain who reported their team’s total steps every week. Participating organizations included Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso), numerous City of El Paso Departments, El Paso County and Sun Metro, among others.

The challenge is the brainchild of TTUHSC El Paso Assistant Professor Jennifer Salinas, Ph.D. Salinas runs the Border Coalition for Fitness, part of an obesity-prevention research program at TTUHSC El Paso. “Walking is something that most people can do. Even small amounts of increased activity can have a positive impact on health and wellness,” she said.

The winning teams were announced Saturday, May 5, at the GRO El Paso event at the Fountains at Farah shopping center in East El Paso. In addition to bragging rights, the teams with the highest collective steps received prizes including cash and six-month memberships to EP Fitness.

Among the TTUHSC El Paso teams that participated, the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine Office of Admissions—dubbed “Walking Dead”—came out on top. The team, which logged 4,685,725 steps during the challenge, placed first out of 26 teams from TTUHSC El Paso, and fourth out of 64 teams to finish citywide. In second place at TTUHSC El Paso were “Techs with Kicks,” with 3,709,836 steps, and in third place were the “Bluebirds,” with 3,634,716 steps. Collectively, TTUHSC El Paso tallied 67,819,903 steps during the month. The experience has inspired the Office of Admissions and other departments to include exercise as part of the workday.

The winning teams were:

Most overall steps

SM Lighting (Sun Metro)

Prize: $1,000 cash

Most improved

Franklin’s Walk of Duty (Juvenile Probation Department)

Prize: $1,000 cash

Lottery draw

TTRACKERS (TTUHSC El Paso)

Prize: Six-month membership to EP Fitness