It is estimated that nearly 50 percent of Michigan residents will be obese by 2030.
But don’t throw your salad out in reckless abandon just yet.
There is hope for your waistline, said Dr. Tom Peterson.
Director of Quality, Safety and Community Health at DeVos Children’s Hospital, Peterson helped organize ShapeMichigan.
According to Peterson, obesity is a relatively new problem.
“It’s only been designated as an epidemic since the late 70’s…It’s a multitude of problems, it’s an environmental problem, it’s a societal problem. We don’t have healthcare systems set up to manage it because it’s a new thing,” said Peterson.
“If we want to have a call to action anywhere in the country, the state of Michigan should be one because we’re one of the worst in the country with obesity rates,” he continued.
According to Peterson, local communities have an impact on obesity rates.
“What we’ve seen in 2012 were local communities, such as New York City, decreasing their rates of childhood obesity. It shows that a local community, if it has the right leadership, can bring together the right sectors to do everything.”
Michigan’s culture is inextricably linked to its health, Peterson said.
“It has a lot to do with how our states have been led or not led. I think our health care systems have done some things but they could do so much more. The childhood obesity rates in Michigan are not as bad as some of the other states. Hopefully that’s a sign of what’s to come as they grow up.”
Peterson suggested implementing required activity in schools throughout the state.
“What the doctors of the schools have to understand is, it’s goal setting. This is a new way we have to manage a problem in health care. If they go to a fast food restaurant five days a week, we want to get them down to two days a week. It’s a process they have to do over three months, nine months.”
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