I welcome this news (see below) from Governor Granholm and Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom, Michigan Surgeon General. But I feel the announcement is lacking several fundamental considerations, and pathways - that would indeed lead to long term truly healthier communities. Can we eradicate asthma in Michigan in our lifetime? Can we eradicate mercury and lead poisoning in our lifetime?
How about healthy environmental policies? Healthy environmental policies would go a long way toward healthier kids and adults, leading to fewer sick days and increased productivity for employers, and leading to cuts in both current and future costs of health care. How about cleaner emissions from power plants and cars? More active lifestyles will not protect children and adults from particulates and ground-level ozone that causes chronic asthma, and more exercise and better food choices will not protect children and adults from mercury released from coal-fired power plants that aren’t required to use best available technology to cut the pollution they produce.
How about an environmental policy that goes after polluters who release dioxins and other cancer-causing chemicals into our air and water, instead of a policy that subsidizes them by not making them pay their true costs of doing business in our community?
That, to me, would signify a vision of a truly healthier Michigan.
Michigan Water Sentinel
Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter
Granholm, Surgeon General Unveil Prescription for a Healthier Michigan
LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm and Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom, Michigan Surgeon General, today unveiled a new plan designed to improve the long-term health of Michigan’s citizens by focusing on strategies to prevent disease and other chronic health conditions.
“The economic and social costs associated with an unhealthy population have a dramatic impact on Michigan’s ability to compete and succeed in the 21st century economy,” Granholm said. “If we are to attract new businesses and create jobs, we have to have healthy, productive workers. Dr. Wisdom’s Prescription for a Healthier Michigan will help us start down the path to better health.”
Granholm said that over the last decade, Michigan has experienced unnecessary increases in infectious and chronic diseases, driven largely by unhealthy lifestyles.
In 2002, the consequences of sedentary lifestyles cost Michigan nearly $8.9 billion in medical care costs, lost productivity, and workers compensation. In 2003, obesity-related medical costs in Michigan totaled an estimated $2.9 billion.
“Personal choices and commitment will ultimately make the difference in our individual health and the well-being of our communities,” Dr. Wisdom said. “I ask everyone to play a role in implementing the recommendations contained in the Prescription.”
In the Michigan Surgeon General’s Prescription for a Healthier Michigan, Dr. Wisdom outlines strategies that Michigan’s health care business and educational and faith-based communities should enact to ensure a healthy population.
Among the highlights:
• Business and industries should provide health care benefits that support prevention activities, encourage and establish incentives to use such benefits, and develop health-based partnerships with community-based organizations.
• K-12 schools should adopt policies on health foods and beverages, implement 24-hour, seven days a week tobacco free policies, and integrate school health education and physical education into school curriculums.
• Healthcare providers should provide prevention services for all patients, educate and support patients in maintaining health and self-management of diseases, identify populations in order to reduce health disparities, and play a substantial role in community efforts to advance and promote healthy lifestyles.
• Colleges and universities should prepare health professionals to respond to the needs and challenges of the 21st century through professional, comprehensive training programs, and recruit and retain diverse health professional workforces to address urgent health issues facing Michigan citizens.
“It is our own personal choices and commitments that will make the difference in our health and the health of our communities, allowing us to turn our focus from treating health conditions to health promotion and disease prevention,” Dr. Wisdom said. “Unless we all take greater responsibility for ourselves, our families, and our communities, Michigan’s collective health will not improve.”
Following today’s announcement, the Prescription will be distributed to local health departments, schools, and health care providers. Additionally, the Prescription will be available on the Web at www.michigan.gov/mdch .
This report follows the Healthy Michigan 2010 report, the Michigan Surgeon General’s first-ever health status report that serves as the foundation of the state’s efforts to improve the well-being of the people of Michigan. The 133-page Healthy Michigan 2010 status report pointed out that in areas related to healthy lifestyles, such as physical activity, healthy weight, and good nutrition, Michigan has room for improvement.
Later this spring, the Surgeon General will debut a program that will help individuals adopt more active, healthier lifestyles.