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Third of adults obese

Published 3:36pm Friday, June 8, 2012

LANSING — Currently, 32 percent of adults and 17 percent of youth in Michigan are obese. To address this health crisis, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) this month released the “Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Plan,” a statewide plan to reduce obesity and improve wellness, at a press conference at Recreation Park in Ypsilanti.
Gov. Rick Snyder charged MDCH with reducing and preventing obesity in Michiganders. Michigan is consistently one of the top 10 heaviest states in the nation, and chronic diseases attributed to obesity cost Michigan an estimated $3.1 billion in 2008.
“Just in time for the warm weather, summer sports, and gardening, the ‘Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Plan’ comes at an ideal time for Michiganders to address their health,” said Olga Dazzo, director of the MDCH. “While the plan is aimed at reducing and preventing obesity, every Michigander can adopt the 4 x 4 tool which can significantly improve their overall health and wellness.”
By practicing four key healthy behaviors, and keeping four health measures in check, everyone can improve their overall health. The four healthy behaviors are: maintain a healthy diet, engage in regular exercise, get an annual physical exam and avoid all tobacco use. The four health measures are body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, cholesterol level and blood sugar/glucose level.
The plan was released at Recreation Park in Ypsilanti in conjunction with Washtenaw County Public Health (WCPH). WCPH and its community partners have taken the initiative to improve their communities’ healthy options. The good news is that while Washtenaw’s numbers have followed the national trends, according to the 2012 County Health Rankings, Washtenaw County has been able to become one of the healthiest counties in Michigan.
“WCPH’s efforts have made a difference, and though there is still work to be done, the Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Plan provides a framework and numerous strategies for communities to tackle Michigan’s public health crisis,” said Jenna Bacolor, program supervisor for the Health Promotion Division at WCPH.
WCPH received grant funding from the MDCH Building Healthy Communities program in 2005 and along with local cities and townships, had made physical and policy improvements to encourage healthy lifestyles.
With the funds, WCPH has established a farmers’ market, assisted communities in implementing Complete Streets ordinances, and is currently looking at passing smoke-free parks policies to keep youth and adults safe from secondhand smoke while enjoying recreational spaces. Additionally, the grant funding has been used to make improvements to Recreation Park, such as extending the walking path and replacing the basketball hoops.
“Recreation Park not only offers a community garden, baseball diamond, playground, and a city pool which will soon undergo renovations through to another grant, but it is maintained by volunteers and sustained through grants and donations,” Bacolor said.
Implementation of the “Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Plan” will require a collaborative approach among state, tribal and local governments; businesses, industry and other private partners; schools and community organizations; and individuals and families. Through these partnerships Michigan can create healthy communities, expand prevention activities, and empower residents to make healthy choices.
The Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Plan and tools for Michiganders to assess their health and create a personal plan can be found online at www.michigan.gov/healthymichigan.

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