Their journey to improved health began last week as the challenge kicked off. The goal of the contestants is to adopt long-term lifestyle strategies that will enable them to maintain optimal weight, nutrition, and fitness levels so they can become as healthy as possible.
“I really want the knowledge to change the progressive pattern of unhealthy behavior in my life,” says Amanda, a mom from West Valley City.
Tina, a mom from Kearns, agrees. “I’ve found in the last few years when we travel, our family vacations are set up around what I can’t do, which is getting more and more limited, instead of what we want to do,” she says. “I want to change that.”
The 15 contestants were selected from among more than 750 women who applied to participate in the challenge. They represent the spectrum and diversity of mothers found throughout Utah: young moms with young families, older moms with high school and college-age children, single moms, stay-at-home moms, and working moms.
The one common trait they all share? They're all busy moms who tend to place the needs of their families long before their own health and well-being. “Part of being a mom is taking care of your family and their needs. But, it’s time to put your health and wellness first, to work on yourself to become healthier and happier,” said Hannah Raasch, MD, a cardiologist at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, as the women kicked off the 100-day challenge last week.
The My Heart Challenge participants will work with cardiologists, dietitians, behavior health specialists, and exercise experts from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute to learn how to incorporate heart-healthy habits into their busy lifestyles to reduce their risk of developing heart disease and heart disorders.
They'll get ongoing nutrition classes and personal exercise consultations to help them improve their diet and exercise. Last week they also received baseline testing — including a treadmill stress test, blood lipid profile, a written health risk assessment, and tests of their blood pressure, glucose, and body mass index — and they'll repeat those tests at the end of the three-month challenge to measure their progress.
Previous year's contestants have included firefighters, schoolteachers and principals, and mayors and city leaders from throughout Salt Lake County. Last year's participants lost a combined 498 pounds — an average of 33.2 pounds per participant — and they reduced their total cholesterol, blood glucose, blood pressure, body fat, and waist circumference.
“My Heart Challenge is a great way to engage the communities we serve and raise awareness about the importance of living a heart-healthy lifestyle,” says David Grauer, Intermountain Medical Center's administrator. “It very much supports our mission to help people live the healthiest lives possible.”
Meet each of the My Heart Challenge: Moms Edition participants.