The Rio Grande Valley is outrunning the State of Texas in a state-wide fitness challenge.
The challenge hopes to reverse some of the state’s high diabetes and obesity rates.
“Every time you work out, every time you eat something healthy like an apple or drink some water post a selfie to that website,” said Xochitl Mora with the City of McAllen. “Document when you work out- we get points, you get points, you get healthier.”
It was launched in January by “It’s time Texas.” So far, the city of McAllen is dominating with over 5 million points.
“We are trying to change that perception that McAllen and the Rio Grande Valley are not healthy and are inactive communities,” said Mora.
Roy Cantu is a participant in the challenge, living with one of the most prevalent illnesses in the Valley.
“I was 284 at my heaviest and that is how I got diabetes,” said Cantu.
Cantu has then changed his lifestyle to live a healthier life, “I drink a lot more water, I try to eat better foods. Yes I cheat because one of my favorite foods is pizza and cake. Those are my favorites, however, you have to sort of understand that if you want to eat those you have to do more exercise.”
Dr. Marissa Gomez-Martinez with Doctors Hospital at Renaissance said her office diagnoses adults and children with different illnesses daily related to bad eating and exercise habits.
“We probably diagnose diabetes weekly, high blood pressure almost daily,” said Gomez-Martinez.
Gomez-Martinez said these challenges can help prevent illnesses, like diabetes.
“There is a lot of diseases, people on dialysis, people losing limbs. All of that can be prevented if we can start early enough and establish healthy habits,” said Gomez-Martinez.
Cantu says even though the statewide challenge is almost over, he encourages others to continue to challenge themselves for a better life style.
The challenge ends on Sunday, the city with the most points wins money to continue promoting fitness and health within the community.
For a list of Rio Grande Valley cities participating, click here.