More Than 1,400 SE Michigan Residents Took “Pledge” to Eat Less, Exercise More
By Tom Nugent
One number says it all: 37.
That’s how many pounds a very determined Detroit healthcare professional named Imana (“Mo”) Minard was able to shed during the recently concluded “DMC 61 Day Health Challenge.”
“For me, participating in last fall’s Health Challenge was absolutely life-transforming,” said Ms. Minard, the highly skilled medical professional (RN, MSN) who manages the Detroit Medical Center emergency room and clinical decision unit. “I not only amazed myself by losing 37 pounds, but I was also able to lower my blood pressure significantly by confronting my obesity and then going to work on it.
“Having been through that wonderfully empowering experience, I better understand the crucial importance of healthy eating and healthy exercise in my life.”
Like the victorious Mo Minard – an award-winning caregiver with a reputation for keeping her cool during even the most stressful moments at one of Detroit’s busiest emergency rooms – more than 1,400 residents of Southeast Michigan last fall “took the Pledge” by signing up for the annual DMC-sponsored nutrition-and-exercise public health education campaign.
And just like Mo, most of the Challenge participants (including more than 300 members of the Detroit Police Department) soon learned that the Pledge to “eat less sugar and take more steps while also eating more fruit” during the last two months of 2015 wasn’t really as difficult as they’d feared it would be.
“Once I got into the swing of it, I discovered that I actually enjoyed the process,” said the 42-year-old ER manager. “Knowing that I could stop eating candy bars and French fries – while also increasing my daily exercise – was quite empowering. For me, the goals of the Challenge are now my permanent goals . . . and I’m going to continue this healthier way of life indefinitely.”
Having achieved a 37-pound weight reduction during last fall’s campaign, Minard says she plans to have shed “at least 100 pounds” by the time the 2016 campaign begins in October.
A former Detroit Fire Department paramedic who won a 2010 citation for saving a city child from a house fire, Minard served as the DMC’s “Health Challenge Ambassador” during last fall’s two-month public education campaign.
Launched in the fall of 2011 by DMC Harper/Hutzel and Receiving Hospital CEO Reginald Eadie, MD, MBA, the annual healthy-eating-and-exercising education campaign has been growing rapidly in recent years . . . while also attracting a fast-growing amount of news media attention.
“When we launched the Challenge four years ago with a dozen or so Southeast Michigan community partners, we were hoping it would eventually begin to catch on,” said Dr. Eadie. “This year, while adding the Detroit Police Department as one of our new Challenge partners, we were also greatly encouraged by its success on social media.
“To our surprise, the 2015 Challenge scored more than 48,000 views on Facebook and drew more than 12,000 followers on Twitter. The yearly Challenge has now become a regular fixture on the healthcare scene in Southeast Michigan – and for a medical doctor who also serves as the president of three Detroit Hospitals, that is a hugely encouraging outcome.”
For her part, Ms. Minard says she couldn’t agree more. “As a healthcare professional,” she said, “I know that being overweight is bad for my overall health. There’s no doubt that obesity is a major risk factor for such chronic conditions as adult-onset diabetes and hypertension, along with heart disease.”
The yearly DMC Health Challenge began under Dr. Eadie’s leadership as president at DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital . . . after he and a few colleagues concluded that helping both patients and hospital staffers to “say no to soda pop,” might slow down the fast-growing obesity epidemic in Southeast Michigan.
Participants in the annual public health education campaign are asked to sign a pledge in which they promise not to consume sugary beverages or fried foods. At the same time, they commit themselves to consuming less sugar in “junk foods” . . . while also exercising moderately several times per week.
Like Dr. Eadie, DMC CEO Joe Mullany says he has been “greatly encouraged” by the growing success of the yearly DMC 61 Day Health Challenge. “I don’t think there’s any doubt that public education has a major role to play in achieving better public health,” said Mullany during last fall’s successful campaign. “And to see the enthusiastic response the campaign has been getting in Southeast Michigan of late is exciting, to say the least.
“At the Detroit Medical Center, our goal is to do everything we can to help improve public health . . . and the Challenge is clearly a major step in that direction.”
At the headquarters of the Detroit Police Department, meanwhile, Chief James Craig said that many of his officers and staffers have eagerly embraced the goals of the yearly DMC Challenge . . . because they understand that a fit and healthy police officer can “do a much better job” of serving the public.
So enthused was Chief Craig, in fact, that he came up with what he described as a “helpful sound bite” to describe the DPD’s participation in the campaign.
That sound bite drew waves of delighted laughter during a public Challenge meeting at DPD headquarters last fall, when the Chief told reporters: “Let’s put the handcuffs on obesity!”
[To learn more about the DMC 61 Day Challenge and how you can participate in the Challenge goals throughout the year, click on www.dmc.org/61days.]