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MI Renews Focus on Obesity Prevention & Reduction

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) today released its “Be Active, Eat Healthy 2014 – 2018 Priority Strategies”, a new companion document to the Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Initiative to prevent and control obesity, reduce chronic disease and build a stronger, healthier Michigan.

Governor Rick Snyder called upon the MDCH to address the issue of obesity for the state of Michigan. Obesity is one of the most pressing health issues in Michigan with two thirds of Michigan adults either being overweight or obese, and one third of our children. Not only does it have serious health implications, but the economic costs associated with obesity are staggering.

“Obesity continues to be a public health crisis in our state for our residents”, said James Haveman, Director of the MDCH. “For many Michiganders, we spend a good portion of our day at work, school and out in the community. We need places that make the healthy choice, the easy choice in order to turn the tide on obesity, for all children and adults”.

Michigan has made significant progress over the last few years with childhood and adult obesity rates leveling off. Michigan has moved from fifth to the tenth most obese state in the nation, meaning that our numbers and the health of the population are headed in the right direction. However more efforts are needed to help change our communities into places that strongly support healthy eating and active living for all Michiganders.

This companion document, Making a Difference in Obesity: 2014 – 2018 builds upon the current efforts of the Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Plan. The priorities identify evidence-based strategies that have the greatest potential to accelerate our modest progress in reducing obesity. It includes a focus on policies, systems and environmental change creating environments that increase physical activity and improve healthy eating where people live, work, learn and play.

To create healthy places for healthy people, the 2014 -2018 Priority Strategies focus on five major areas:

  • Promoting education environments as a focal point to reduce childhood obesity
  • Expanding the role of the healthcare system for obesity prevention and treatment
  • Expanding opportunities for people to be physically active where they live, work, learn and play
  • Creating environments that assure healthy eating options are the easy choice
  • Supporting local communities to make policy, system and environmental changes to increase opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity that fit with their community’s unique needs

Making steady forward progress in creating healthy environments provides the support children and adults all need to make the healthy choice to live long, healthy lives. To learn more about Michigan’s health and wellness efforts, and for additional tools and resources, visit http://www.michigan.gov/healthymichigan.