Tennessee has the third highest obesity rate in the nation and J.P. Barfield is challenging Cookeville residents to get off the couch.
As chairperson of the department of exercise science, physical education and wellness at Tennessee Tech University, Barfield is working with the Highlands GetFitChallenge to encourage people, on and off campus, to log 30 minutes of exercise five days a week to fight obesity and promote health.
“It’s a needed initiative in our state. Obesity and risk of diabetes is really high here and physical activity is one way to reduce that risk,” Barfield said. “This is a way to remind people to be active.”
This is the first time the challenge has been issued to the area; businesses and organizations around Putnam, White and Overton Counties will be signing in to the state Department of Health website to log their hours and competing for prizes with each other.
Several offices from TTU have signed up to compete, including all the EXPW faculty.
“The Get Fit initiative is a great way to encourage people on campus and off to be active and exercise,” TTU President Bob Bell said. “I am looking forward to participating in some friendly competition with the rest of my team.”
Teams will have the opportunity to win prizes, all donated by local businesses over the course of the three-month challenge, which officially begins Sept. 1. There will be a kick-off event on Aug. 27 at the Leslie Town Centre.
“A lot of people exercise with others in their department already and Highlands GetFit promotes the importance of others to our exercise routines,” Barfield said. “It’s encouraging people to help one another with their exercise habits.”