MURRAY, UT – Who will be the healthiest principal in the Salt Lake Valley?
For the next three months, 15 school principals from around the valley are competing in the 2013 My Heart Challenge, sponsored by the Intermountain Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center, to improve their health and to motivate their students and communities to become healthier as well.
“Heart disease is the leading killer of Americans,” said Donald Lappe, MD, chief of cardiology at the Intermountain Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center. “But many of the risk factors associated with heart disease can be reduced through simple lifestyle changes like diet and exercise. That’s why we started the challenge. We want to help raise awareness of this issue and motivate not only the principals to improve their health, but the greater community as well.”
Last year’s inaugural challenge featured 12 city leaders who achieved amazing results, including collectively losing 179 pounds, reducing cholesterol by an average of 14 points, and decreasing the average waist circumference by 2.6 inches.
This year’s participants are excited to make some healthy changes, too.
"My family has a long history of heart disease, and my mom died of a heart attack," said Karen Chatteron, principal of Cottonwood Elementary School in Holladay, and one of the 15 participants in the 2013 My Heart Challenge. "I've tried improving my health on my own, but this gives me the motivation to do what I need to in order to succeed, and so I'm excited to change my lifestyle."
How the My Heart Challenge Works
The challenge officially kicks off on February 7 and concludes May 17. The principals will participate in weekly nutrition classes and personal exercise consultations to improve their diet and exercise. They will also undergo baseline testing, including a treadmill stress test, blood lipid profile, blood pressure, glucose, body mass index and a written health risk assessment and then will repeat those tests at the end of the three-month challenge.
As principals eat healthy, participate in cardio or strength activities, and plan and execute healthy activities for their school, they will earn points. At the celebration lunch on May 22, two $1,000 prizes will be given, one to the overall winner (based on points) and one to the most improved.
Participants include representation from Salt Lake City School District, Murray City School District, Granite School District, Jordan School District, Canyons School District and two private schools.
Christy Waddell, Butler Elementary, Cottonwood Heights
Brent Shaw, Canyon View Elementary, Cottonwood Heights
Nikki Ward, St. John the Baptist Elementary, Draper
Becky Gerber, Herriman Elementary, Herriman
Karen Chatterton, Cottonwood Elementary, Holladay
Mark Longe, St. Vincent de Paul School, Holladay
Sally Sansom, East Midvale Elementary, Midvale
Heather Nicholas, Horizon Elementary, Murray
Tracy Rose, Twin Peaks Elementary, Murray
Linda Richins, Clayton Middle School, Salt Lake City
John Erlacher, Newman Elementary, Salt Lake City
Ruth Peters, Peruvian Park Elementary, Sandy
Cecilia Jabakumar, Arcadia Elementary, Taylorsville
Diena Riddle, Hayden Peak Elementary, West Jordan