WALK set Monday at Bloch Park

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

The Deep South Network for Cancer Control has implemented its Community Action Plan intervention program to help reduce the risk of cancer.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham and the network will host a WALK Monday at 6 p.m. at the Bloch Park Walking Trail.

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The WALK program is a partnership between the Deep South Network and the UAB Minority Health and Research Center.

According to officials, more than 60 participants have pre-registered to walk one mile. Each participant will be given a free clip-on pedometer to count total steps.

“My hope is that people develop a healthier lifestyle,” County Coordinator Teresa Sears said.

Research shows the death rate for all cancers is higher in African American men and women than any other racial or ethnic group living in the South. By promoting physical activity, nutrition and regular cancer screenings, Deep South Network is working to eliminate these cancer disparities.

Nine walk teams have been established in Dallas County with 56 WALK team members. Each team is headed by a team leader who provides motivation and encouragement.

Dorothy Chatmon is one of those WALK team leaders. Chatmon, a registered nurse,

lost her stepmother to colon cancer in 1990 and has a cousin who is a colon cancer survivor. Chatmon joined DSN more than three years ago.

“People need to know about being tested for cancer early and they need to know about dietary intake and exercise,” Chatmon said.

Physical activity has been shown to decrease the risk of some cancers, including breast and colorectal, research shows.

The WALK program is part of a two-year intervention aimed at increasing physical activity in the Deep South Network service area. Nearly 2,000 walkers have been enrolled by Deep South Network across Alabama and Mississippi.

Each county has an average of eight team leaders with up to 10 walkers per team. Each team has the goal of walking at least three days out of the week.

“It only takes 30 minutes a day for a brisk walk and that will make the difference in their health,” Sears said.