MARSHFIELD, Wis., July 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Alarmed at the rising number of
overweight children and adults, and the staggering medical costs associated
with obesity, doctors, educators, employers and community organizations in
Marshfield, Wisconsin, have launched a Healthy Lifestyles Coalition to get
adults and especially children to be physically fit and active.
Marshfield Clinic Cardiologist Dr. Charles S. McCauley, one of the
Coalition's founders, got interested when he saw a growing number of younger
people with heart disease in his medical practice. "We are super-sizing
ourselves into an early grave," he said.
Key to the Coalition's success will be the entire community's
participation in coming up with changes and then implementing them.
"Just telling people to lose weight or exercise more only works if people
already are motivated to change," McCauley said. "We want to change
long-standing habits for large numbers of people. That requires support of
the whole community."
Changes already in the works include offering more healthful food choices
in school cafeterias and increased activity in physical education classes,
according to David H. Smette, Ed.D., superintendent for the School District of
Marshfield. And an example of many possible small changes to improve
lifestyle behaviors would include a proposal to ban handheld video games on
The community initiative is focusing on children because habits become
engrained early on, McCauley explained. Also, the number of overweight
children has tripled during the past three years nationally. "Hopefully, if
children embrace a healthy lifestyle, they may encourage their parents to do
so as well," he said.
The Healthy Lifestyles Initiative also calls upon local businesses to
participate in making changes.
"Diseases associated with obesity and overweight, such as diabetes, high
blood pressure, stroke and even cancer, are some of the key drivers of
increased health care costs," McCauley said. "Employers not only care about
the health of their employees but they are also very concerned about rising
insurance rates in part due to obesity-related diseases."
In addition to funds from Marshfield Clinic, the Initiative is seeking
funding from the Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of
Health. McCauley and others plan to measure the effectiveness of their
efforts and then offer the Initiative as a model to be duplicated in other
Marshfield Clinic is one of the largest health-care providers in the U.S.,
serving central, northern and western Wisconsin. Marshfield Clinic's Research
Foundation is known for many outstanding research projects, and is at the
forefront of the international pursuit of genetic medicine.
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SOURCE Marshfield Clinic