State Government Challenge Kept Leaders Walking: Office of the Governor and Executive Cabinet Deemed Champions Of Bi-Cameral, Bi-Partisan Competition

Contact: Beth Perrine (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

June 3, 2004

More than 111 million steps – a distance two and one-third times around the Earth – were logged during a four-month walking challenge between the Senate, House and Executive office.

The goal of this friendly competition – that included more than 280 participants – was to see who could record the most steps from December 8, 2003 through March 28, 2004. Using pedometers and an online tracking system, legislators, cabinet members and their staff recorded all the steps taken on a daily basis, adding up to nearly 55,812 miles.

“Participating in this challenge has not only been fun for all involved, it really served to highlight the importance of physical activity and its multiple health benefits,” said Janet Olszewski, Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH). “For the past 16 weeks we have worn our pedometers and recorded our steps. It is my hope that this has become a habit and will spread to all the citizens we serve.”

Three factors were reviewed when figuring the end results – percentage of participation, greatest improvement over the course of the challenge and the average number of steps per walker. The Governor’s office and cabinet scored first in consistent participation, with an average of 52% participating.

Also, the Governor’s office had the highest number of average steps – 64,413 per walker. With a 23 percent increase in steps throughout the challenge, the House scored first in the most improved category.

Results for the total number of steps and participants are as follows:

· House: 83 participants and 28,400,042 steps total

· Senate: 102 participants and 29,706, 048 steps total

· Governor’s Office and Cabinet: 101 participants and 53, 518, 344 steps total

At the end of the challenge, walkers were asked to complete an evaluation survey. One hundred percent of respondents reported that their activity had increased since beginning the challenge and all noted perceived health benefits since participating. Two benefits specifically stood out, with one quarter of those surveyed noting that the challenge helped to manage stress and lose weight.

“Being physically active is a critical lifestyle choice to make,” Olszewski said. “Many of those involved in the challenge saw results from only four months of activity. Think about what a lifetime of increased activity can accomplish.”