National

Jan 23, 2013 6:11 PM by Connie Murphy

Michigan targets obesity with awareness campaign

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Department of Community Health on Wednesday asked residents to agree to lose 10 percent of their body weight in an effort to bring down the state's obesity rate.

The department launched the "MI Healthier Tomorrow" campaign to educate residents about the health problems associated with obesity and to call on residents to join a statewide weight-loss effort.

"The primary message ... is that you as a Michigander can do much to lower your risk for a variety of chronic diseases by making some decisions regarding your weight," department Director James Haveman said. "People can't wait. They need to start making decisions today."

Residents who choose to participate in the program will be sent a free "Getting Started Kit" in the mail and also can sign up to receive text messages or emails with motivation tips or healthy recipes.

Losing 10 percent of one's body weight helps lower the risk for a health concerns including high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes, according to the department. Health officials also said lowering the state's obesity rate could reduce Michigan's health care costs by approximately $357 million.

The campaign comes out of a recommendation from last June's Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 plan, which tasked the department to create a message to fight obesity in the nation's fifth heaviest state.

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