Michigan Department of Community Health Unveils Healthy Lifestyle Program

July 10, 2001

Michigan Department of Community Health Director, James K. Haveman, Jr., today announced the Healthy Lifestyle Program, a new effort to help overweight residents get healthy.

"Preliminary figures for 2000 show that 39 percent of Michigan residents are overweight and 23 percent are obese," said Haveman. "This program will help people control their weight and reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other serious medical conditions." As much as 40 percent of heart disease deaths - the number one cause of death - may be due to overweight and high cholesterol, data shows.

"About two-thirds of Michigan residents who are overweight are trying to lose weight, so the interest is certainly there," said Haveman. "But many people just try the latest fad diets, which won't work for the rest of your life and can be dangerous to your health. This initiative focuses on healthy solutions and providing the information and tools people need for lifelong success in weight management."

The initiative includes a Fit Kit with tips for nutrition and exercise and discount coupons for sporting goods equipment at MC Sports stores. It also contains several practical aids such as:

-- On The Road, a guide to keep in your car to help you eat healthfully when you're away from home.
-- A Supermarket Survival Guide to help you select the healthiest foods while shopping.
-- A cook's guide to keeping the flavor while losing the fat in your favorite recipes.
-- A booklet of delicious low-fat recipes featuring Michigan foods.
-- Get Ready, Get Fit, Go!, a guide to get you started on a safe and healthy exercise program.
-- A list of 100 painless ways to lead a healthier life.
-- Fun Food - Fit Kids, tips for good eating and physical activity habits to start kids out on the right track.

The Fit Kit is available free by calling 1-866-4-FIT-KIT (1-866-434-8548) and will be promoted statewide on radio in collaboration with the Michigan Association of Broadcasters.

The Healthy Lifestyle program also includes professional education in conjunction with the Michigan Nurses Association and other collaborations with the Michigan State Medical Society, the Michigan Osteopathic Association and the Michigan Dietetic Association. "This is a vital part of turning this state around in terms of weight management," Haveman said. "Clinicians will be updated on the newest technology in this discipline so they can help their patients take advantage of the latest information and techniques to control one of the most significant health risks we face."

Michigan's other on-going commitments to weight management include:

-- The Exemplary Physical Education Curriculum (EPEC), a program of the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports. EPEC provides students with the fitness levels, motor skills, activity-related knowledge, and personal-social-attitudinal characteristics they need to be active for life.

-- Project Fresh, which provides coupons for fresh fruits and vegetables to women and children currently enrolled in the WIC program.

-- Worksite & Community Health Promotion, a comprehensive cardiovascular disease prevention program that helps reduce behavioral risk factors that lead to cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. Employers interested in participating in the Worksite & Community Health Promotion program can call toll free, 1-800-537-5666.

-- 5-A-Day for Better Health, a program that encourages people to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day to reduce risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

-- Michigan Team Nutrition, which encourages schools, families and communities to work together to continually improve school meals and make appropriate food and physical activity choices for a healthy lifestyle.

-- Comprehensive School Health Education, a K-12 curriculum designed to increase information and promote healthy behaviors, including food choices, reducing fat intake, nutritious snacks, and exercise.

-- Promoting and encouraging Walkable Communities throughout the state has been an effort of the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports and Michigan Department of Community Health. This program assists communities that want to make it easier for their residents to be physically active and recognizes them for their efforts. A self-assessment tool was created to help communities better implement these improvements.