By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Healthy Lifestyle program Saturday

A free program about establishing healthy lifestyles is slated to run 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, in the McMinnville Public Library. It is open to all.

The McMinnville School District’s Nutrition Services is joining the Willamette Valley Medical Center and Yamhill County Public Health to present the community program. School official Dusty Rose spearheaded the effort and assembled a presentation team on which she joins AmeriCorps county health educator Michael Keuler and registered hospital dietitian Becky Black.

Saturday’s program will include a screening of part of “Weight of the Nation,” a documentary about the consequences of unhealthy lifestyle choices. Then local presenters will suggest simple ways to add healthy behaviors to our lives.

“It doesn’t have to be the latest fad diet or expensive exercise programs,” said Keuler, who has a health education degree from Western Oregon University. “We know a healthy lifestyle can be easy if we just give people the tools.”

Presenters will distributehealth tracking guides, in which people can record their eating, exercise, TV watching, etc. That can help them monitor what they’re doing and see how they need to modify their behavior, he said.

The trackers are part of the 5210 Challenge, a simple method for setting and reaching healthy behavior goals.

The numbers in the name of the challenge stand for four positive daily behaviors: Eating at least five fruits and vegetables; limiting non-work screen time (TV, computer, video games) to no more than two hours; getting at least one hour of physical activity; and drinking zero sugary beverages.

“It’s a great message anyone can understand,” Keuler said.

He said 5210 was developed with children in mind, but is a great tool for people of all ages. He has taught the program to various businesses and organizations, and it has been well-received.

He has used a 5210 tracker himself, and it helped him discover that the biggest challenge for him is limiting his time with high-tech gadgets, he said.

Keuler said people who start the 5210 Challenge don’t need to feel they must immediately stop watching television and start exercising for a whole hour.

“These are goals,” he said. “You could start with one of these ... The idea is to make it realistic for everyone.”

He said self-reflection also plays a part. It can help people understand what they’re doing and think about small, but significant changes they can make. For instance, if they realize they’re choosing cookies instead of fruit, they might decide to remove the sweets from their home.

People will notice benefits from self-reflection and replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones, Keuler said. Results can range from improving self-image to reducing or preventing chronic diseases. Employers who promote healthy lifestyles can benefit from increased productivity and lower absenteeism among workers, he added.

For more information, call 503-474-4938.

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