Grant funds to expand Walk Georgia program
by Matt Shinall
May 28, 2013 | 1657 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
By Matt Shinall

matt.shinall@daily-tribune.com

Nearly $4 million in grants from the Coca-Cola Foundation, awarded last month, will go toward promoting a healthier Georgia and reducing obesity.

Among the primary recipients is the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service for the expansion and promotion of Walk Georgia.

The Walk Georgia program is a health initiative operated under the UGA Extension Family and Consumer Sciences program. Although the program was once offered locally by retired Bartow County FACS Agent Kathy Floyd, area residents may again see a resurgence of Walk Georgia as funds become available.

“Increased funding for the Walk Georgia program will usher in a revitalization of the program in our county in the spring of 2014,” said Bartow County Extension Resource Manager Brielle Shinall in an email to The Daily Tribune News. “Kathy Floyd, retired FACS Agent in Bartow County, previously led a successful Walk Georgia campaign and with this influx of additional funds, opportunities for outreach and education about the health benefits of exercise will increase as well.”

Walk Georgia offers participants the opportunity to record their activity levels over a 12-week program and compete with other participants on an individual or team level as they virtually travel across the state.

“Bartow County residents have the option to participate in Walk Georgia as an individual or as a team of four,” Shinall said. “As participants accumulate miles, they navigate a map of Georgia and chart their course to ‘walk’ Georgia, moving virtually throughout the state, and viewing fun facts about each county visited. Individuals are ranked within the individual rankings and have the freedom to create an account at any point within the program registration period. Team members work together to encourage each other to participate in weekly activity and are ranked with other teams in the state.”

Whether actually walking or taking part in another physical activity, such as aerobics, biking or swimming, Walk Georgia participants log either distance traveled or time spent exercising. The online Walk Georgia program will translate exercise activities into a miles-walked equivalent as participants make their way across the state.

The goal is to “walk” 15 miles per week and establish healthy habits.

“From children to adults, Georgians across the state are working toward a healthier lifestyle with the help of a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension fitness program called Walk Georgia,” states the Walk Georgia website. “Since the program began in 2008, more than 20,000 participants have logged more than 2.2 million ‘virtual’ miles of physical activity.”

For more information, visit www.walkgeorgia.org or contact Bartow County Extension at 770-387-5142 or by email at uge1015@uga.edu.