For the first time, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Step Up Scale Down wellness program is making its fall-edition online course, open to everyone ages 18 and up across Texas, available free of cost. Previous participants in Step Up Scale Down have lost an average of 8 lbs. over 12 weeks and reported developing healthier eating habits and an overall health improvement.

Step Up Scale Down is a 12-week program focused on living a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and physical education. There will be two online course options for participants to choose from. The course starts on Sept. 5, and registration is available until Sept. 19. 

Course registration is available through the AgriLife Learn online education platform.

A research-backed, helpful weight loss program

A new topic will be discussed during each lesson to help participants achieve their health goals using evidence and research-informed information. Course content is based on the United States Department of Agriculture guidelines, which can help support participants in their weight loss journey. Some course topics include how to calculate calorie needs for weight loss to reach a healthy weight, why fad diets are not recommended, portion sizes for adults and how to read nutrition labels.  

Participants will learn how to: 

  • Apply healthier nutrition habits to their daily lives. 
  • Achieve and maintain weight loss goals.
  • Create a structured and sustainable way of life to improve their health and well-being. 
  • Gain a positive support system from county AgriLife Extension agents.  

Step Up Scale Down teaches sustainable and healthy lifestyle changes to give participants the confidence to continue with what they’ve learned even after they complete the course.

With a growing interest in online and virtual health programs, the online Step Up Scale Down course is a proven way to provide healthy lifestyle education. New additions to this course include discussion boards for participants to get expert support from AgriLife Extension specialists. Participants will also receive points and rewards for completing course lessons and participation.  

Carissa Wilhelm, AgriLife Extension program specialist for Healthy South Texas, said she hopes the free course will motivate people to register.  

“For many people, it’s difficult to begin an exercise program and sometimes they don’t know where to start,” she said. “We want to reach more Texans, men and women alike. With this free Step Up Scale Down course, our goal is to provide participants the education and resources to make better-informed health decisions, allowing for an improved quality of life.” 

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