Michigan gets fit

ANSING – State Sen. John Proos praised Gov. Rick Snyder today for including key points – such as increasing healthy food options and addressing child obesity – in his plan to improve health and wellness across Michigan.

“Becoming a healthier Michigan will enhance the quality of our lives and help the economy by reducing health care costs,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “The rising cost of health care is a significant challenge facing Southwest Michigan families and job providers. I thank the governor for making it a priority to improve the health of Michigan residents, and for including increasing healthy food choices and addressing child obesity as key initiatives to achieve this goal.”

The governor’s “Special Message to the Legislature on Health and Wellness” had several recommendations concerning obesity and nutrition, including:
Encouraging the state to work with schools to facilitate participation in physical activity and health education across all grade levels;
Encouraging schools to serve as models by creating their own healthier nutrition standards;
Finding ways that farmers can help alleviate the state’s obesity problem; and
Strengthening the Farm to School Network for more locally-produced, fresh foods in school meal programs.

“I co-sponsored the cottage food industry law last year to increase access for Michigan families and businesses to healthy, locally-grown foods at farmers’ markets and roadside stands – something we have plenty of in Southwest Michigan,” Proos said. “It was about eliminating barriers to entrepreneurship and boosting the economy, but it was also about encouraging people to eat healthier at the same time.”

In a walking competition amongst state lawmakers, Proos has been named Healthiest Legislator for five years running. “I am also very excited that the governor is stressing the importance of physical activity for our kids,” Proos said. “More than 12 percent of Michigan children are obese. Throughout my time in the Legislature, I have championed ways to combat child obesity, and I look forward to working with the governor to address this rising challenge without burdening schools with increased costs.”

Currently 67 percent of Michigan adults are overweight or obese, and the state is eighth in the nation with an adult obesity rate of 31.7 percent. This is significant because obesity is linked to several chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

“Two-thirds of Michigan residents are already considered overweight or obese, costing us billions of dollars in annual medical expenses,” Proos said. “We must turn this tide or health care costs will continue to strain our economy and pocketbooks.”