Local businesses try to combat rising obesity rates
By Craig McMorris, TV5 Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
Posted By Tom Plahutnik, Web Editor/Producer - email
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -
New, disturbing information has been released on Michigan's expanding waistline.
Our state is once again one of the "fattest" states in the nation. Nearly one in three Michigan adults is obese, landing us at No. 5 on the recently released list of 12 fattest states. But some local companies are fighting the battle of the bulge, and TV5 visited one of those businesses to discover more about their battle plan.
"We started our walking club probably about a year ago," said St. Mary's of Michigan employee Shelli Langenburg.
Langenburg is a walker and she keeps fit by walking with other St. Mary's medical employees. Langenburg and her co-workers love the fact that her employer encourages them to be fit.
"They always stand behind us 100 percent, [and] offer the time [so] that the employees can do the walking," explains Langenburg.
St. Mary's joins a growing list of local companies that encourage workers to "get physical" and also make wise decisions when it comes to the food they eat.
Dietician Danielle Schmidt helps her co-workers be Michiganders instead of Mchigainers.
"If I would encourage one thing, it would honestly be portion control," said Schmidt. "It's really not too much about what you eat, or how much you move -- those do play a huge factor, but it's the [portion] size [that's] going to [make] a huge difference."
St. Mary's also offers incentives for employees to get in shape such as prizes to local athletic stores and for healthy food alternatives. It also features food items on its cafeteria menu that are great for eating healthy. But most of all, the medical center is really proud of its walking program, displaying flyers encouraging people to lace up their sneakers and hoof it. And it doesn't matter if the weather is nasty outside, you can still grab your tennis shoes and get a good physical workout indoors.
"Even moving in place, people forget about doing this -- how long can you do something crazy or jumping jacks? There's plenty of things you can do at home, even sitting down to burn off that cheeseburger," said Schmidt.
Meanwhile, Langenburg has some advice that a lot of us can take to heart. "Get out and try it, that's just the beginning, just get out and try it," encouraged Langenburg.
The governor's Health and Wellness Dashboard also indicates that Michigan continues to struggle in several important areas, including obesity among adults and high school students.
Copyright WNEM 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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