Wisdom Joins CNN's Gupta At Fit Nation Event

Contact: Tiffany Menard (517) 335-9882
Agency: Community Health

March 17, 2006

Michigan Surgeon General Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom joined CNN’s senior medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Thursday to discuss the nation’s obesity epidemic with University of Michigan students in Ann Arbor. The town hall meeting was the second stop on Gupta’s six-week Fit Nation tour.

“I am pleased to join Dr. Gupta and the distinguished group of panelists today to address an issue that is hurting our state both physically and fiscally,” said Wisdom. “I encourage University of Michigan students to share your ideas about how to combat obesity with your State government.”

Wisdom also encouraged students to get involved in campus and state healthy lifestyle initiatives, such as the Michigan Steps Up healthy lifestyles campaign. She also praised Governor Jennifer Granholm for setting an example for Michigan citizens by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Wisdom was joined by panelists representing the University of Michigan School of Public Health and the American Heart Association.

Gupta, who started the Fit Nation program to become a part of the solution for America’s obesity epidemic, encouraged students to not just talk about solutions but actually put them into action. To inspire students, Gupta announced a CNN contest in which students start a new program in their community and produce a news report highlighting the success of their project.

The town hall discussion also included a candid look at obesity facts and myths, an overview of the epidemic, its relevance to the students and how change starts with them as future leaders. Students presented their ideas for how they can get involved, including peer groups to encourage healthy lifestyles among dormitory residents, physical activity mentoring programs pairing up college and elementary students, and programs encouraging children to appreciate nature while being physically active outdoors.

Since her appointment in 2003, Wisdom has focused on issues central to the state of Michigan’s health such as obesity, tobacco use, and childhood lead poisoning. In 2004, Wisdom released the Healthy Michigan 2010: Surgeon General’s Health Status Report and the Michigan Surgeon General’s Prescription for a Healthier Michigan. In February 2005, she launched Michigan Steps Up, a statewide healthy lifestyles campaign designed to improve the health of Michigan citizens by encouraging everyone to move more, eat better and avoid tobacco use.

To learn more about Michigan Steps Up, visit www.michiganstepsup.org. For more information about Fit Nation, visit www.cnn.com/fitnation.