People make choices every day that affect our lives in ways we take for granted. Little things -- like that 11 p.m. bowl of ice cream someone eats four nights a week or the half-hour walk someone else takes every other day at noon -- can play roles in our long-term health, for better or worse.

Habits can be hard to break, even when we know they're bad for us. That's something staff members of the Salt Lake Valley Health Department in Salt Lake County, Utah, probably had in mind when they devised the One Small Change -- For the Health of It campaign, which encourages people to make tiny lifestyle changes where they can -- all in the name of living long and prospering.

"A lot of times with health messages, people are asked to change so much of what they do, and that can be very intimidating," said Kate Lilja, the department's public information specialist. "So the One Small Change campaign was a new spin on that by encouraging people to begin with manageable things."

Terri Sory, the department's chronic disease program manager, felt that these changes can put people on the path to better health. "The more that they make the small change, the more that there is an impact on them individually -- their families, obviously the community, and then our county as a whole," she said. "And then as they continue to make these one small changes and see how easy it is to do, they'll continue to progress in health."

It's definitely a community-minded promotion, which users discover while perusing the One Small Change section of the department's Web site. The numerous recommendations range from the smaller and more personal, like eating healthier or getting a vaccination, to larger and group-oriented efforts, like starting a wellness-at-work program, to the eco-friendly, like using recycled paper products.

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Hilton Collins, Staff Writer Hilton Collins  | 

Hilton Collins is a former staff writer for Government Technology and Emergency Management magazines.