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Welcome to our annual Women’s Health issue! This time we’re focusing on diet and weight control — things that seem to be a constant source of struggle for a lot of us. Just last spring, I was feeling great, eating healthy and walking three times a week with a good friend, who frowned (in a kindly way) on missed workouts. But as soon as my kids got out of school for the summer, my resolve seemed to vanish in the hectic whirl of a household with three active boys. I think the return to a more regular schedule will be a good opportunity to get back to the basics of healthy eating and exercise.

In our cover story, Lisa Fairbanks- Rossi explores the way groups of women (and men!) are finding that teaming up for a little friendly competition may be the key to sticking with a diet-and-exercise plan.

Don’t think your teammates on the road to health have to be human, however. According to the Centers for Disease Control, pets can help lower their people’s blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce loneliness and promote opportunities for socializing, as well as encourage exercise and outdoor time. It seems we’ll do just about anything for our pets. And, as Jordy Byrd reports, the Spokane Regional Health District aims to capitalize on that relationship with an innovative new program that enlists our pets in the fight against smoking.

To your health!

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