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K-State Fitness Challenge Yields Cost-Savings for Community

K-State Fitness Challenge Yields Cost-Savings for Community

HAYS, Kan. – K-State Research and Extension’s 2012 edition of Walk Kansas is winding down, and many of its more than 18,600 participants have earned bragging rights.

In Ellis County, for example, 40 local Walk Kansas teams of six covered the required 423-mile distance from Kansas’ east to west borders, but couldn’t stop there, said Linda Beech, K-State Research and Extension county coordinator for the health-promoting program.

“Our walkers reported a total of 33,172 miles, enough to walk across the state 78 times, travel from New York to Los Angeles 11 times, or circle the globe 1.3 times,” Beech said.

Participants also were encouraged to track – and increase – fruit and vegetable consumption, and reported about 15,271 pounds – or 7.6 tons, she said.

Health benefits from exercise, which include reducing the risks of diabetes, heart disease and some cancers, are well known, Beech said.

While the program is open to all ages, older adults who add physical activity typically become stronger and are more able to remain independent, and that’s also a plus, she said.

There’s a cost savings from becoming more active, too, said Beech, who cited research at North Carolina State University that estimated the annual, direct and indirect per-person cost of physical inactivity at $1,412.

“If you multiply the per-person cost by our 240 team members, the potential benefits from K-State’s Walk Kansas could yield a $338,880 savings in health care costs in Ellis County,” Beech said.

More information on Walk Kansas and other K-State Research and Extension health-promoting programs is available at Extension offices throughout the state and online: www.ksre.ksu.edu or www.walkkansas.org.

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