Austinite Amy McGeady is committed to building a healthier state, one Texan at a time.
By Courtney Runn, Amy McGeady photo by Courtney Runn, It’s Time Texas photo courtesy of It’s Time Texas
Texas is experiencing a health crisis. According to nonprofit It’s Time Texas, the number of overweight or obese kids in the U.S. has tripled, two-thirds of American adults are over- weight or obese, and chronic diseases contribute to nearly two-thirds of all deaths in Texas.
Headquartered in Austin, It’s Time Texas recently celebrated its fourth anniversary and offers free tools and programs throughout the state to combat these growing statistics. Its staff is on a lofty mission to ensure all Texans have access to the essentials required to live healthy lifestyles and feel empowered to make healthy choices.
For many of the staff, this goal is personal. Chief Strategy Officer Amy McGeady knew she wanted to change her health narrative after losing her mom and grandma to cancer.
“I became really passionate about being the first woman in my family to make it through my 40s without ever having cancer,” she says. “It really lit up something in me about being proactive about my health and wanting to have opportunities to live a healthy life.”
In pursuit of a more purpose-driven, health-focused lifestyle, McGeady left a decade-long career in consulting to join It’s Time Texas and, despite losing the flexibility consulting offers, the nonprofit’s company culture has encouraged her to consistently workout and prioritize her health.
“We really believe that Texas is best when Texans are healthy,” McGeady says.
And McGeady is quick to point out that a healthy lifestyle will look different for everyone. The goal, she says, is to find what workouts and healthy practices are enjoyable and sustainable for you, whether that means walking your dog every day or committing to fitness classes.
In its few years, It’s Time Texas has already made significant headway, with more than 550 communities and 3,500 schools and organizations involved throughout the state. Among its many free programs and tools are initiatives specifically designed for teachers and employers, an app to find healthy activities based on location and access to health coaches in Spanish and English. The nonprofit also hosts events, including its annual health summit in partnership with the University of Texas, which most recently featured the U.S. surgeon general as a keynote speaker. Annual community-focused events, including its Community Challenge, which launches in early January, take place statewide throughout the year.
“Health is not just about me being healthy as a person,” McGeady says. “But it’s about my community being healthy.”
Through its comprehensive programs, local partnerships and strategic targeting, It’s Time Texas is fighting for a healthier state, one Texan and one community at a time.
We really believe that Texas is best when Texans are healthy.
JOIN THE COMMUNITY CHALLENGE
Every year, It’s Time Texas hosts its Community Challenge, a free statewide competition to encourage Texans to kick off the year by setting healthy habits. With the support of Mayor Steve Adler, Austin won the past two years in the metro-city category. Here’s all you need to know about joining the challenge so we can keep Austin’s winning streak going.
When: Jan. 7 through March 3
How to register: Sign up for free anytime during the challenge at ittcommunitychallenge.com to start logging your activities and receiving points.
How to get points:
• Register on the website, 500 points
• Track your physical activity, 100 points
• Track your weight weekly, 100 points
• Take a healthy selfie, 200 points
• Watch the living-healthier video lesson online, 200 points • Host a community event, 250 points
How to get your community involved: It’s Time Texas Chief Strategy Officer Amy McGeady encourages office staffs to compete together to make it more fun and hold each other accountable. If you’re a K-12 teacher or parent of a K-12 student, you can choose to also register for the School District Challenge so every time you earn points as part of the Community Challenge, your school district also gets points.