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Altru sets community health challenge for 2014

A small group of runners running to promote the Wild Hog Half Marathon next September in Grand Forks makes its way along 47th Avenue South in Grand Forks on News Year Day.JOHN STENNES/GRAND FORKS HERALD

Altru Health System's second health challenge to the community kicks off Monday with the hope that people can make good choices at all times.

For four weeks, "Resolve to make #HealthyChoices in 2014" will present Facebook users with a challenge in one area each week -- home, play, school, work -- and one incentive to match.

For the week focusing on school, for instance, participants can win a kid-friendly basket with a Mayo Clinic Kids cookbook, a jump-rope, sled and other items. During the rest of the week, health experts will offer tips related to the theme, said Annie Berge, Altru spokeswoman.

"We're hoping that this will be a fun way for people to kick off the New Year with healthy choices," she said. "We encourage people to make them and also help others around them make healthy choices, too."

Altru offered #30DaysofRunning, its first community health challenge, last June on Facebook. Runners of all experience levels were invited to participate in the month-long event and win prizes such as running shoes or Hugo's grocery gift certificates.

The event received such a positive response that Berg said Altru wanted to tackle another one.

"People were really motivated," she said. "We saw people who had never really run before start to run and others walk who were previously inactive."

In addition to the weekly prizes, Altru is also giving away gift cards that can be used toward its new Weight Management Program, which combines nutrition, fitness and medical monitoring, and other cash-based services at the Center for Prevention and Genetics.

The event, only available to Facebook users, was inspired by the high rate of obesity identified by a 2013 Community Health Needs Assessment. Obesity was one of five top health concerns in the area.

On the Web: Join the challenge at For more information on cash-based services at the Center for Prevention and Genetics, visit

Call Johnson at (701) 787-6736, (800) 477-6572 ext. 1736 or send e-mail to

Jennifer Johnson

Jennifer Johnson is the K-12 education reporter for The Grand Forks Herald.  Contact her if you have any story ideas or tips and visit 

(701) 787-6736