Texas communities taking healthy selfie challenge

Runners take off from the finish line at the Cap10K in Downtown Austin Sunday (Juan Rodriquez / KXAN)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Just in time for people already ditching their New Year’s resolutions, Texas communities are challenged to prove which city is the healthiest statewide.

A local group is kicking off their 5th annual health challenge on Monday. It’s Time Texas is hosting their Community Challenge, which is the only statewide competition of its kind. You can sign up online and earn points for your city or town by posting healthy selfies, organizing workplace activities, taking the Mayor’s pledge, or utilizing a fitness tracker to map your progress.

The goal is to get families, schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods to make healthy choices as a community. Each registered community is divided into five groups based on population. The community with the most points at the end of the challenge will get a $1,800 grants allocated for continuing health education.

“Unfortunately, unhealthy habits in our country have given rise to chronic diseases that have reached epidemic proportions,” says Dr. Baker Harrell, founder and CEO of It’s Time Texas. “As a result, healthcare systems are overburdened, quality of life has deteriorated, and the long-term costs are hurting families and communities.”

Last year, 1.5 million Texans signed up for the challenge and lost a total of 6,000 pounds. Mayors across Texas, including Austin Mayor Steve Adler, made the pledge to raise awareness for the benefits of healthy lifestyle changes.

Registration is free. The challenge runs until March 31 and the winners will receive their awards at the state capitol in April.

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