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Pure Michigan FIT Partnership Tackles Rising Obesity
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Pure Michigan FIT provides tools and resources for Michigan families to incorporate healthy eating habits and physical activity into their lifestyles.

Source: Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

Contact: Heather Throne at 517-373-1085


Agriculturally Speaking: The Powerful Pure Michigan FIT Partnership Tackles Rising Obesity Rates in Michigan

Governor Snyder, in his 2012 State of the State address, announced Pure Michigan FIT, a nutrition and fitness initiative focusing on children 0-5. Pure Michigan FIT provides tools and resources for Michigan families to incorporate healthy eating habits and physical activity into their lifestyles. Just six months later, on June 13, Governor Snyder joined several partners from the public and private sector to launch this health and wellness initiative encouraging us all to take a stand against obesity to build a stronger, healthier Michigan.
Research has shown that teaching your child healthy eating habits early on leads to long-term behavioral changes helping a child grow into a healthy, active adult.  A landmark Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS), commissioned by Nestle’ Nutrition, and used as a basis for the Pure Michigan FIT program, outlined four major components to combat childhood obesity and improve the health and well-being of children: 1) Breastfeeding is the best first nutrition for our children; 2) Juice consumption should be limited to 4-6 ounces per day and water consumption should be increased; babies under 6 months of age should not consume juice; 3) Saturated fat in a child’s diet can be reduced by switching from whole milk to low fat milk – skim or 1%; and 4) Feeding a child healthy, nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables is extremely critical from the moment a child starts eating solid foods.
The Pure Michigan FIT program will be implemented over the next three years in conjunction with all of our partners. The first part of the three-year plan promotes healthy habits through signage and nutrition information at grocery stores. The second phase is a collaboration with the Michigan Department of Human Services and other partners to identify the best practices to increase healthy food availability and nutrition education for Michigan’s low-income families. The third phase, through the leadership of the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and other partners in the healthcare field, will provide nutrition information to families through healthcare professionals and will work with the state’s medical schools to provide additional nutrition education and training classes for doctors, nurses, and others who care for our children and families.
Pure Michigan FIT augments the recently announced Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Plan, a statewide plan targeting the 32 percent of adults and 17 percent of youth in Michigan who are obese.  This plan aims to improve wellness by providing a framework and numerous strategies for communities to tackle Michigan's obesity rates and other key indicators of health. The Michigan Health and Wellness 4 X 4 Plan requires partnerships among state, tribal and local governments; businesses, industry and other private partners; schools and community organizations; and individuals and families to create healthy communities, expand prevention activities, and empower residents to make healthy choices.
Additionally, the Pure Michigan FITness Series, endorsed by the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports and the Michigan Fitness Foundation aims to promote and encourage healthy physical activity in communities throughout Michigan.  The Pure Michigan FITness Series will help promote the health benefits of regular physical activity and healthy eating.  The connection with Pure Michigan FIT will help events and organizations throughout Michigan tie into healthy living habits in a new and unique way.
As a Pure Michigan FIT partner, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) helps connect the resources of our state’s producers, food processors, retailers, healthcare and fitness organizations, and other state agencies to educate Michigan families on proper nutrition and help them achieve healthier lifestyles.  MDARD also promotes the purchase of products grown in our state to keep our economy strong and growing.  Research has shown that foods provide the most nutrition and are of the best quality when they are consumed as soon after harvest as possible.  Therefore, foods grown locally are a great choice for high nutrition, freshness and quality, and they support our local communities.
The Pure Michigan FIT partnership includes: MDARD; American Academy of Pediatrics – Michigan; Michigan Department of Community Health; Michigan Department of Education; Michigan Department of Human Services; Michigan Farmers Market Association; Michigan Fitness Foundation; Michigan Grocers Association; Michigan Health and Hospital Association; Michigan Osteopathic Association; Michigan Primary Care Association; Michigan State Medical Society; Nestle’ Nutrition/Gerber Foods; and United Dairy Industry of Michigan.
For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/puremichiganfit and follow #puremifit on Twitter. The Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Plan and tools for Michiganders to assess their health and create a personal plan can be found online at www.michigan.gov/healthymichigan