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Published on August 20, 2015

MU Health Care Invites Mid-Missourians to 'Step Up' to Walking Challenge

Community members, area businesses challenged to take steps to better health

COLUMBIA, Mo. ― University of Missouri Health Care is encouraging the mid-Missouri community and area businesses to join in a free health and wellness initiative called “Step Up With MU Health Care.” The initiative is designed to encourage everyone in central Missouri to be healthier and happier on the job and at home.

“Our goal is to create a culture of health for everyone in our community, one step at a time,” said Mitch Wasden, chief executive officer and chief operating officer of MU Health Care. “Step Up With MU Health Care is meant to engage not only health system employees, but the central Missouri community as well. Last year, we held a similar challenge for MU Health employees and logged 1.5 billion steps ― enough steps to walk around the earth about 24 times. This year we are hoping everyone will join us and exceed that goal.”

The 11-week challenge will take place Tuesday, Sept. 8, through Tuesday, Nov. 24. Participants from mid-Missouri can form teams of three to five and work toward meeting weekly step goals. Teams that complete the goals will be entered into weekly drawings for prizes such as MU football tickets, flat-screen TVs, gym packages and fitness equipment.

Teams may register online beginning Friday, Aug. 21, at All participants must be registered by midnight Monday, Sept. 14. Using a pedometer tracking device or step tracking application on a cell phone, participants will record their daily steps online. Each week, the step goals will increase by 1,000 steps per day. The first week’s daily goal is 5,000 steps. The goal will increase to 15,000 steps per day during the final week.

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, almost two-thirds of adult Missourians are obese or overweight. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancers. Walking is a simple exercise that can offer several health benefits such as weight loss, relief of anxiety and lowered blood pressure.

“Although it is recommended that a person walk 10,000 steps per day, most adults walk fewer than 5,000 steps per day,” said Whitney Wright, practice manager for MU Health Care’s Mizzou Therapy Services and organizer of the challenge. “We want to change that, and we feel that this challenge is a fun way to do that.”

In keeping with MU Health Care’s core mission of advancing the health of all people, especially Missourians, the health system has offered employees several opportunities to improve health and wellness. Earlier this year, 431 MU Health employees participated in the New Year New U Weight Loss Challenge, and lost a combined weight of 3,283.5 pounds. In 2014, more than 2,100 employees formed teams to track and progressively increase their steps, logging 1.5 billion steps during the “Work Together, Walk Together” steps challenge.

The Step Up With MU Health Care challenge is free and open to the public. For more information, please email or visit to register.

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