Live Well expo to help county be healthy

Overweight and obesity estimates are based on Body Mass Index (BMI). (Courtesy graphic)

Overweight and obesity estimates are based on Body Mass Index (BMI). (Courtesy graphic)

MANISTEE COUNTY — About 70 percent of adults in Manistee County are overweight or obese, according to the Behavior Risk Factor Survey of 2006-10.

The Live Well Health Expo is here to help and will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday at Brethren High School.

Children in the county struggle with weight as well, 25 percent of seventh graders are obese, while 17 percent of ninth and eleventh graders fall in the category. Overweight numbers are at 10 percent for seventh graders and about 16 percent for ninth and 11th graders, according to a 2012 survey.

According to the same survey, about 50 percent of students in those grades are attempting to lose weight.

“We want to help support people as they make changes or maintain a healthy lifestyle, and to remind everyone that Live Well is here to do that,” said Holly Joseph, heath educator for District Health Department #10. “We’re giving people opportunity to see what’s there to support them.”

The expo will include door prize giveaways such as gift cards for healthy foods and gym memberships. There will also be more than 20 local vendors present, including the Manistee Community Kitchen, several local farms, West Shore Medical Center and Manistee Senior Center.

This is the second annual event, and about 100 people attended in 2013.

“One hundred would be great, but more would be better,” Joseph said.

The expo will kickoff a countywide walking campaign, in which participants are asked to walk 100 miles by Sept. 30. Joseph said one mile is equal to about 15 minutes of walking — 100 miles is about 25 hours. Walkers are encouraged to form groups with friends, coworkers or others.

“We’re really trying to bring barriers down,” she said. “We want this to be accessible and easy.”

Individuals can get a button for completing their first 20 miles, and stickers to put on the pin for each subsequent 20 miles, she said. The first 100 people to complete 100 miles will receive a T-shirt.

“I’m proud of my button,” Joseph said.

First, second and third place winners will be announced from the Kids Poster Contest, which asked children to show how they live well.

Being overweight or obese is measured by the Body Mass Index (BMI), and is based on height and weight. Those who are overweight or obese have excess body fat.

The Live Well campaign asks people to pledge to lose 10 percent of their body weight to reduce risk of things like heart disease, stroke, cancer, lung disease, diabetes, liver disease and sleep apnea.

Some simple ways to lose weight, suggested by the campaign, include drinking water instead of pop or juice, making half your plate fruits and vegetables, comsuming less than 2,300 millagrams of sodium a day, getting 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day and sleeping seven to eight hours each night.

The expo will include information on the Affordable Care Act, health food tasting and free blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol screenings.

“It should be fun,” said Dorothy Batzer, FIT Kids coordinator. “Everyone there will have something to taste test or give away.”

The FIT Kids booth will have information on childhood obesity in the county and state, the eight risks factors for heart disease and how to live healthier as a family.

“Kids mirror what they see at home,” Batzer said. “We’re making the assumption that if kids aren’t eating well and aren’t exercising, the parents are also not eating well and not exercising. We’re attacking the whole community.”

The event is sponsored by Healthy Manistee County, the Michigan Department of Community Health, West Shore Medical Center, Michigan State University Extension and District Health Department #10.

In Michigan, about 66 percent of adults are overweight and 31 percent are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The campaign has many suggestions on how to increase one’s health, their family’s health and the health of the community, which will be available at the expo.

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Posted by Justine McGuire

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