offers interactive health journal offers interactive health journal South Dakotans looking to get active and eat healthier can find help with a new interactive personal health journal on the Health Department's www.Healthy web site.

The secure site prompts users to create their own nutrition and physical activity goals or select from a list of small steps goals such as drinking one less can of pop a day or walking during the lunch hour. Once users create their goals, the site helps them keep a running log of their progress so they can easily see how they're doing.

"State employees have been using a similar site for the past year. Not only has it been popular in helping them set and achieve health goals, it's also helped hold down cost increases in the state's health insurance plan," said Doneen Hollingsworth, Secretary of Health.

Hollingsworth said the new health journal even includes a calorie counter to help users figure out their caloric needs and track how many calories they're getting. There's also a journal option that gives them the chance to jot down what's working, what's not, and what they're thinking and feeling as they work towards their goals.

"The whole message of

the web site and the new journal is that each one of us can commit

to small steps that can

mean better health. We want to encourage people to take small, manageable steps

that can have a big impact over time," said Secretary Hollingsworth. "Cutting out pop entirely might not be possible, but drinking one less can of regular pop a day is possible and, over the course of a year, would result in a loss of 15 pounds."

In addition to the health journal, offers credible resources and information about physical activity and nutrition for parents, kids, teens, schools, workplaces and health professionals in a user-friendly format. It was created as part of the Healthy South Dakota Initiative, an effort to prevent obesity.

Physical inactivity and unhealthy eating significantly increase the risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke, which are the three leading causes of death in South Dakota. Nearly one-third of South Dakota school age children are overweight or at risk for overweight and 60 percent of adults are overweight or obese.

The Department of Health and its partners are developing a statewide nutrition and physical activity plan with the help of a $437,000 federal grant.

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