State Asking Michiganders to Pledge to Lose Weight

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The State of Michigan is asking for a pledge, not a pledge of allegiance, but pledge to lose weight. It's part of a new campaign the state rolled out Wednesday to fight obesity.

Nearly 900 had signed up by 6 p.m. Wednesday, promising to lose 10 percent of their body weight. It's a big goal, but an important one, according to state health officials.

Michigan is now the fifth heaviest state in the nation.

"Some people say well that's just the way life is, life isn't that way," Michigan Director of Community Health James Haveman said. "There are things you can do to change."

The state is hoping healthier habits come through the pledge, an online oath to drop the pounds. Those who sign up get a free starter kit, ongoing motivational tips, recipes and above all, better health.

"Obesity is the root cause of a number of issues, obesity brings on the onset of diabetes and high cholesterol, a number of other issues and all that costs the State of Michigan money," Karole White, with the Michigan Association of Broadcasters said. The MAB is a sponsor of the new initiative.

Haveman was one of the first to sign up. He is promising to lose 20 pounds and says the interactive online system is no fad. He believes it will make a real difference for those who have struggled with consistency.

"What we've found is people can't just say I'm going to lose weight," he said. "They need to get reminders and they can get updates on their cell phones, little tips, reminders and they can feed in information, so it's an interactive type deal."

Personal trainer John Greene, with the YMCA, agrees. He says having someone, or the state, holding you accountable can easily boost results.

"It's the community," he explained. "If you're working out alongside others that social network really helps people stay motivated."

The YMCA is one of the state's many pledge partners. 170 employers and organizations have already signed on. Haveman says they know the price of doing nothing is one we'll all pay.

The most recent numbers available show Michigan spend $3.1 billion on obesity related medical expenses in 2008. If the current trend continues that number could jump to $12.5 billion by 2018.

You can more information about that state's campaign at Weigh In On a Healthier You, Michigan

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