The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals is challenging its residents to live well, eat right and get enough exercise.
The department is launching Living Well in Louisiana on Aug. 20. The three-month program asks participants to track their daily exercise and diet, with a focus on losing weight through physical activity and increased fruit and vegetable consumption.
Residents can enter and track their progress through a newly launched website or a mobile phone application. The first 1,000 participants to sign up will receive free pedometers from the state. Fitness prizes will be awarded to top performers in the competition, paid for by wellness grants and corporate sponsorships, the department said in a release.
In announcing the competition, the state health department noted that the state ranked as the fifth most overweight state in the country in a 2011 report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. According to new figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Louisiana had an adult obesity rate of 33.4 percent in 2011, the second-highest rate in the nation.
"We each have a daily responsibility to own our own health and take good care of ourselves so we can feel better and prevent serious illnesses," said Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein in a statement. "Obesity is a serious challenge in our state, and the solutions really begin at home."