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Get Going Oregon! wants Oregonians to put down the junk food, get off the couch, help others

Get Going Oregon!, a fundraising and awareness campaign for the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center at OHSU, is challenging Oregon to get healthier and change their habits by averaging 10,000 steps a day

Some trends are downright scary. Consider this: 200,000 of all adults living in Oregon suffer from diabetes and 61 percent are obese. For the first time in history, children’s lives are expected to be shorter than their parents. Organizers at Get Going Oregon! (GGO!) think it’s time to turn things around. They believe that, step by step, Oregonians can get healthier, raise awareness and create funding for diabetes care and educational outreach.

The OHSU Foundation is planning the second annual Get Going Oregon! Activity Challenge & Health Fair to benefit the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. The center is one of only 10 in the nation, and the only one on the West Coast, treating children and adults with diabetes in one location. School-age children are a huge focus of this campaign because of the growing pediatric obesity epidemic and the importance of introducing healthy habits at a young age. The challenge will have a fun interactive Web tracker that kids will love. 

GGO! is challenging individuals, families, friends, children, schools, teams and organizations throughout Oregon to change their hand-to-mouth-in-front-of-the-TV habits. The aim is to inspire anyone at any age to get moving for a healthier lifetime. Registration for individuals, schools, teachers, families and teams opens Wednesday, June 8, at Participants are provided an online tracking tool that translates just about any physical activity into steps toward a 10,000-steps-a-day goal. Prizes will be awarded to individuals, families and teams that raise the most pledges and average 10,000 steps a day. Get Going Oregon! launch activities will take place in Portland, Salem, Roseburg and Bend and will be highlighted on the community’s GGO! website.

“Harold Schnitzer's gift to help others improve their lives and aid in their struggle with diabetes is an invaluable legacy for our state and the region,” said Dan Occhipinti, who lives with diabetes and is chairman of the Get Going Oregon! steering committee. “This year's Activity Challenge and Health Fair to help Oregonians learn more about ways to improve their fitness levels and health has more significance than ever as we say goodbye to such a notable community leader, friend and philanthropist, Mr. Schnitzer.”

Participants in the challenge will aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of daily physical activity, including walking, running, cycling, swimming, jumping rope, dancing or a combination of these and other workouts. Even everyday chores such as gardening, housecleaning, and shopping count to help reach the 10,000-steps goal.

Get Going Oregon! is a great way to help people in our state be healthier and more active, which makes an especially big difference for those suffering from diabetes and its side effects, as well as obesity,” says Occhipinti. “We want this to become a classic tradition like Cycle Oregon to get kids off their couches and get them to head outside and get moving. We want to help adults find ways to incorporate active living into each day. Our aim is to change people’s lives for the better.”

The GGO! Activity Challenge and Health Fair includes a non-competitive 5K walk along the Willamette River and a health fair on the OHSU South Waterfront campus. Everyone is invited to join in the fun at the launch event with live entertainment, vendors, free health screenings, activities for the kids like hula hooping, yoga and Zumba demonstrations and more.

Participants collect pledges to support their month-long efforts. Through peer support, exercise and better eating, contestants can expect to fuel new habits for a lifetime of better health. Funds raised through Get Going Oregon! will help expand healthy living education, obesity and diabetes prevention education for children and adults throughout the region.

“The primary goal of GGO! is to support the statewide prevention and outreach activities of nationally recognized Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center at Oregon Health and Science University and to reduce the incidence and impact of diabetes,” said Occhipinti, who stresses how key it is to understand diabetes prevention and control, and how both relate to other health issues.

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