Putting your health first

To support women in putting their health first in the battle against cancer, today the American Cancer Society kicked off a new program called "Choose You." This program hopes to encourage women to make healthier choices in areas that may affect cancer risk. The Choose You program uses technology from stickK, a free Internet service that encourages participants to reach personal goals through "commitment contracts" that, if broken, result in a payout to a person or charity of their choice. We mentioned stickK in an article in CURE's 2008 summer issue. In Choose You, participants commit to eating better, exercising, quitting smoking, getting regular health checks, or protecting their skin, and then make a monetary pledge to the ACS. If the goal is achieved, the pledge is returned. If the goal is missed, then the pledge is a donation to the ACS. So either way, you are a winner! A referee is assigned to help you toward your goal, and you can add a virtual cheerleading squad of family and friends to support you along the way. The Choose You website also has many tools to help you achieve your goals. There is a virtual dietitian, videos on subjects such as making healthy choices on vacation, articles on eating healthy at restaurants, and nutrition and activity quizzes. Being a working mother of two children, I know it is easy to put everyone first in your life, and many times, you have no choice. But if you don't stay healthy, how can you be there for your family, friends, and work? So do something for yourself--"Choose You" and pick one thing you would like to change to put yourself on the path to a healthier you.