My Idea to Help Governor Snyder Battle Michigan’s Obesity Problem

Jodi Davis walks with her dogOlga Dazzo, the newly appointed head of the Michigan Department of Community Health, stood in front of a group of a hundred or so individuals in Lansing and confessed something that I’m sure was extremely difficult for her to do: “I’m obese.  My BMI is over 30.”

Body Mass Index – or BMI – is a measurement used by doctors to know how much unhealthy fat an individual is carrying around on their body.   Anything over 25 is considered overweight and over 30 is considered obese. If the number is over 40, then you are considered morbidly obese.  (It’s hard to believe that I was once in that category.)

Governor Rick Snyder, Olga’s boss, has made it one of Michigan’s top priorities to trim the state’s waistlines.  I am sure you must realize how excited I was to hear this, especially since I am very aware of the facts:  29.4% of adults in Michigan are considered obese and 12% of our children are too. We are the tenth fattest state in the nation.  How sad is that?

Our Weight is Something We All Have the Power to Change

“We will look to build a system that encourages all of us to have an annual physical, reduce obesity and encourage an active and healthier lifestyle in our state,” said Governor Snyder.

The Governor is now tracking the state’s obesity rate on his Michigan Dashboard, a website that shows Michigan’s performance in several key categories compared with other states.

Is it reasonable to think a state government can actually change the obesity problem here in Michigan? Yes. It will take some time, but it is more than worth the effort.

And were you aware that all obesity-related health care costs in Michigan are close to $3 billion a year?  Obesity not only creates health issues, it creates budget issues too. Yes, we understand the consequences of obesity, now if only we could create solutions.

I have many ideas since I was able to end my obesity (at zero cost, by the way) and I have learned that the state board of education has a few ideas, too.

Nutrition? Yes, But Walking Works, Too

One of the ideas from the state board is to encourage school districts to adopt higher nutrition standards for school breakfast and lunch programs.  The group’s 2011 agenda also includes strengthening school health and physical education programs.

That’s a great start; but remember,  I was an overweight child and I can tell you from personal experience that it’s going to take more than that. We need to get the entire population – young & old, and everyone in between – up and moving.

Okay, I’ll admit that I didn’t want to do that myself at 300 lbs, but once I got up and moving by doing something as simple as walking, I trimmed my own waistline.

If Governor Snyder wants to trim Michigan’s waistline, why not start with something that has been proven to work for numerous Michigan residents already:  a walking initiative?

Olga Dazzo has now been charged with coming up with a plan to whip the state into shape, which some say make her the state’s leading personal trainer.

I hope she realizes walking works wonders, and incorporates walking into her plan. If she needs any help with that, I suppose you can tell her where to find me 🙂

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