Colorful Choices challenges Emory to eat healthier

By Erin Long | Emory Report | March 16, 2016

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Colorful Choices, the new health challenge for Emory employees, encourages participants to eat five servings of produce each day. You track your progress through a smartphone app or website.

Building on the success of last fall's Move More Challenge, which helped Emory employees increase their physical activity, a new wellness challenge is coming to campus this spring. Colorful Choices, a web-based nutrition challenge that encourages participants to eat more fruits and vegetables, will take place April 4 through May 15.

This fun and engaging challenge is designed to provide more support for healthy eating and good nutrition, which is one of the goals of the Healthy Emory strategic plan. Data from Emory’s 2014 health risk assessment indicated that 84 percent of Emory employees eat less than the daily recommended amounts of five or more servings fruits and vegetables.

"Many of us do not eat a variety of healthy foods,” says Dawn McMillian, wellness specialist and registered dietitian. “As a result, we are seeing increasing numbers of individuals with nutrition-related diseases such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This challenge will help our employees get motivated to eat more healthy fruits and vegetables, as a step toward better health."

Track progress via smartphone app, website

The goal for each challenge participant is to eat at least five servings of produce each day, with a minimum of three vegetables, in the color categories of red, orange, yellow/white, green and blue/violet.

Participants will track their progress through the web-based program or a smartphone app, receiving two points for each vegetable serving and one point for each fruit serving consumed. The goal is to accumulate at least 200 points by the end of the six-week program.

Participants who have reached 100 points by the end of week three and/or 200 points by the end of week six will be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift card. Additionally, a weekly winner will be drawn from all registered participants and will receive a fruit basket.

"This challenge is really easy to participate in,” McMillian explains. “It allows people to start small, set personal goals, and make changes in their everyday diet."

Unlike the Move More Challenge, forming teams is voluntary. Employees can participate alone or they can form or join a team if they would like to be part of a larger group.

This Colorful Choices video explains the challenge in more detail.

Registration for the Colorful Choices Challenge opens on March 21 and closes April 1. The program is open to all benefits-eligible faculty and staff as well as retirees.

For more information, visit the Colorful Choices webpage.