Over the past month, Tammy VanDongen and I have traveled hundreds of miles to Athens and Atlanta filming promotional material for WalkGeorgia.org.

Over the past seven years the Walk Georgia-Walton Challenge has grown as thousands throughout the county and state have used this website to combat obesity and unhealthy habits. Tammy VanDongen and I believe this program is worth the investment. The University of Georgia Extension’s Walk Georgia program is working to equip all Georgians with the knowledge and the tools needed to be more physically active.

WalkGeorgia.org has reached more than 50,000 Georgians since its inception in 2008, with a goal of reaching 100,000 over the next two years and reducing state obesity by 5 percent.

The Walk Georgia-Walton Challenge has been a great way to motivate people in Walton County to stay healthy. The web-based program is offered at no cost and allows all Georgians to register for the free program through its website.

At the Fall Feast 2014, Walton County hosted a kick-off day to enroll and engage people for the new Walk Georgia pilot program released to test the program’s new site. On February 1, 2015 the NEW Walk Georgia Program will officially open.

A $1 million grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation has allowed Walk Georgia to expand from just two 12-week intervals per year to a complete renovation of the website, which stays open all year and offers both tracking and wellness resources.

Through the new website, participants will be able to create a profile and track their physical activity year-round. Users can create and join groups, and customizable sessions will be available.

Users will be able to open the website on all mobile devices and the site will give the user the option to connect with popular social media outlets, like Facebook and Twitter in order to share progress and encourage fellow users.

The Walk Georgia-Walton Challenge was created to get more schools involved and offers the traveling “Walk Georgia- Walton Challenge School Trophy”; Sean Callahan and Greg Yarmen will again be the strong competition for this trophy. The Walton County government will be using Walk Georgia as part of its Wellness program, Walton Challenge is just an added bonus.

If you have a business and would like to jump on board with the Walk Georgia-Walton Challenge simply call the Walton County Extension Office at 770-267-1324.

Join with Tammy and I to invest in Walton County and make it a healthier place to live.

Many of the participants follow the Walk Georgia blog, found at http://blog.extension.uga.edu/walkgeorgia/, sharing photos and questions they might have.

The program is also on social media — Facebook, Twitter @WalkGa and Pinterest.

Molly Kimler is the Walton County Nutrition Program Assistant. She can be reached by email at mkimler@uga.edu.

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