DMC “Challenge Ambassador” Loses 37 Lbs During Two-Month Healthy Eating Campaign

 

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.]

Mo Minard: 39 Lbs. Lighter and “Feeling Great,” As the DMC Health Challenge Continues in 2016!

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Now that the 2015 version of the DMC 61 Day Health Challenge has gone into the record books, it’s time to step back for a moment and count our blessings.

Starting, of course, with the remarkable saga of the DMC’s own Imana “Mo” Minard – the skilled and dedicated MSN-RN who in recent years has managed the Emergency Department and Clinical Decision Unit here on the midtown campus of the Detroit Medical Center.

Some background: When the 2015 Challenge (“Less Sugar, More Steps, Eat More Fruit!”) kicked off last Halloween, Mo Minard made headlines by announcing that she’d taken the “Pledge” to improve her health by avoiding empty calories from soda pop, candy, doughnuts and other junk foods, while also exercising more.

She meant it, too.

After only six weeks of her new regimen, the upbeat and enthusiastic Ms. Minard had lost 24 pounds and reported that it was “getting easier all the time” to say no to the French fries and the chocolate-with-caramel candy bars that had helped to trigger her unhealthy obesity in recent years.

And guess what?

Ten weeks after the launch of the third annual DMC Challenge, Ms. Minard says that she has now lost 39 pounds . . . and that she’s determined to drop an astonishing 100 pounds of flab by the time this year’s Challenge gets underway in late October.

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s hear a round of applause for Mo Minard!

Interestingly enough, the hard-working DMC ER manager says she’s also been greatly encouraged by the interest other Detroit-area residents have been showing in her successful weight-loss and exercise gains.

“I’ve really been amazed by the responses I’ve been getting,” Mo told me the other day. “In recent weeks, I’ve gotten more than 500 responses on my Instagram page, with many people saying they’re interested in learning more about the health benefits to be obtained by saying no to sugar and yes to exercise.

“The response has been so exciting, in fact, that I just changed my Instagram page [address] to: mo_is_melting_away!

Ms. Minard also says she’s now more convinced than ever that “education is the key to improving health” . . . and that the yearly DMC Challenge is rapidly becoming a powerfully effective program throughout the Detroit area for people who understand that eating better and exercising more are essential elements in a winning strategy to reduce our risk of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

“The journey I’m on is a journey toward a healthier life,” says Ms. Minard – and as a medical doctor and hospital president, I can tell you for sure that those words of hers are music to these ears.

Here’s wishing Ms. Minard – and all the rest of us – a happy and healthy 2016, as we keep on watching what we eat and taking more steps each day.

To learn more about the DMC Challenge and how you can continue to benefit by eating better and exercising more during 2016, just click on www.dmc.org/61days.

Update: The Detroit Police Department Kicks Off Its Own Version of the DMC “Health Challenge!”

It was a thrilling moment, to say the least.

There was the Chief of the Detroit Police Department – the highly regarded and hardworking James E. Craig – standing in front of a microphone at police headquarters on Third Street and telling the world:

“I have a sound bite for you: Let’s handcuff obesity!”

It happened on Tuesday afternoon (Dec. 8) in the heart of the Motor City . . . as the 1,600-member DPD kicked off a year-long health partnership with the Detroit Medical Center.

Inspired by the DMC’s own ongoing “61 Day Health Challenge” (our third annual holiday-season campaign to eat better and get more exercise), the DPD on Tuesday launched an ambitious, year-long nutrition and exercise program aimed at helping its police officers and support staff to get in better shape . . . in order to do an even better job of protecting the citizens of this great city.

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While dozens of enthusiastic police officers and DPD support staffers were being screened by DMC clinicians for weight, blood sugar, cholesterol and other health risk factors, I wandered around the Michigan Room at DPD headquarters and talked to lots of people who were very interested in helping Detroit’s Finest to do a better job of serving the public better by improving their own health.

Among the most vocal of the cheerleaders was Chief DMC Administrative Officer Conrad L. Mallet, Jr., the former Michigan Supreme Court Justice, who told the applauding throng: “This is a very exciting day for all of us.  Today is part of pushing [the DMC] hospitals out into the community . . . and what the Detroit Police Department is doing is a wonderful example of how community organizations can partner to improve public health.”

The beaming police chief said he couldn’t agree more and then went on to outline the upcoming yearlong DPD health campaign.  The first step, he said, will be a “90-Day Weight Loss Challenge” in which police officers and staff will work with the DMC to shed extra pounds and improve cardiovascular fitness.

Chief Craig presents Dr Eadie with his Certificate of Appointment as a specialist reserve of the DPD

The second step in the program calls for DPD precincts and bureaus to form competing teams that will vie with each other to see which can lose the most weight and most improve their fitness levels during calendar 2016.

During the same period, meanwhile, the DMC will assign a skilled “life-stress” clinician to the DPD to help officers cope with the psychological and emotional rigors that often accompany police work.

Describing the benefits he hopes will flow to his officers and staff, the chief was quick to point out that “studies have shown that an officer who’s physically fit will have a [higher] level of confidence and will be able to resolve [law-enforcement] situations . . . often without the necessity of having to use force.

“It’s clear that an officer who’s fit interacts with the public differently – and fitness and wellness also have a direct effect on reducing stress in police officers.”

It was an afternoon to remember, for sure.  When my own turn came to step up to the microphone, I told the participants how pleased the DMC was to be joining the DPD in a “Health Challenge” designed to help everybody in southeast Michigan.

Our own 61 Day Health Challenge (motto: “Less sugar, more steps, eat more fruit!”) will run through January 1, and the results so far have certainly been encouraging – with hundreds and hundreds of Michiganders reportedly keeping their “Pledge” to cut back on junk foods and exercise more during the holiday season.

Make no mistake: this is a very exciting time for public health throughout the Detroit area.  As the high-spirited gathering in the Michigan Room at the DPD began to break up, I was delighted to hear the chief telling a reporter: “To accomplish our mission, we have to work with our partners throughout the city – and the DMC is a very significant partner in that effort.

“Working effectively with our partners makes very good sense to me!”

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[To learn more about the Challenge and how you can take part, just click on www.dmc.org/61days.]

 

DMC 61 Day Health Challenge Welcomes A New Partner: 1,600 of Detroit’s Finest

Welcome aboard, Detroit Police Department!

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If you’ve been keeping tabs on this year’s DMC 61 Day Health Challenge, you probably know that we just reached the halfway mark.

As of December first, I’m happy to say, the 2015 version of the annual DMC campaign to cut back on sugar and other unhealthy foods – while also exercising more and eating more fruit – is 50 percent of the way to its ultimate destination, New Year’s Day, 2016.

That’s exciting news, for sure.

But what you may not know yet about the ongoing Challenge is that we recently added a terrific new partner – the entire City of Detroit police force.

Some background, first: as you may recall, one of the most dynamic speakers at the huge “Kickoff Event” that launched this year’s DMC 61 Day Challenge (back on Oct. 30) was the hard-charging Detroit Police Chief, James Craig . . .  who told a cheering audience at the Detroit Medical Center that he was determined to help the approximately 1,600 police officers under his command to become more physically fit.

As the chief enthusiastically pointed out, maintaining a high level of physical fitness is essential for police officers who want to serve the public well.

And the two keys to accomplishing that important goal are avoiding the fat-triggering “empty calories” that can be found in such dietary villains as soda pop, candy, snack cookies and fried foods . . . while also getting plenty of healthy exercise

Well, I’m happy to report to you that Chief Craig meant what he said about trying to assist his police officers with the important task of becoming more fit.

No sooner had he returned to downtown Detroit Police Headquarters, in fact, than he began organizing a massive new effort to help DPD officers and support staff alike start eating healthier foods and increasing the amount of exercise they get each day.

The chief’s new fitness plan is exciting to contemplate – and it’s now about to start bearing fruit.

As of next Tuesday (December 8), the DPD will be partnering with the DMC in a year-long program designed to improve the physical fitness of the hard-working police officers and staff who protect us each day.

To that end, the new DPD-DMC health partnership will launch a special “90 Day Fit Challenge” Kickoff Event on the afternoon of December 8 (from 2-6 p.m.) in the Michigan Room of the Detroit Police Headquarters at 1031 3rd Street.

During that event, DMC staff will screen hundreds of police officers and support staff for weight, cholesterol, diabetes, BMI, vision and other health risk factors.

And here’s some more good news: as the new partnership gears up during the next few weeks, DPD staff will form teams that will compete with each other all year long to see which precinct can become the healthiest.

Sounds quite promising and hopeful, don’t you think?

You can bet that I’ll be in attendance at Police HQ for the Kickoff . . . and that I’ll be eager to “spread the gospel” of this this year’s DMC 61 Day Health Challenge: “Less sugar, more steps, eat more fruit!”

For more information about the DPD “Fit Challenge” Kickoff Event (which will be open to news media reporters and photographers) contact Arielle Berlin at ABerlin@dmc.org.

And please watch this space next week . . . when I’ll be back to give you a full update on the DPD Fit Challenge Kickoff and what took place!

Editorial Sheds Light On Soft Drink “Science”

1398714_10151964881904378_396548395_oA recent New York Times editorial has shed light on the practice of large cola companies financially backing studies into how healthy a soda pop diet is. Most interesting of all is their claim that Coca Cola are backing a study which concentrates on emphasizing “exercise as the best way to control obesity and to play down the importance of cutting calories.”

This article goes on to claim that consumption of soda pop is on the decline, and because of this cola companies are trying to add their opinions on health and soda pop. I urge everyone to read this editorial, by clicking on the link HERE, and I’ll leave you with this quote below. Food for thought indeed…

An analysis published in PLOS Medicine found that studies financed by Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, the American Beverage Association and the sugar industry were five times more likely to find no link between sugary drinks and weight gain than studies reporting no industry sponsorship or financial conflicts of interest.

New to the 61 Day Challenge? You can learn more about the 61 Day Challenge here:www.dmc.org/61DayChallenge

New York Times: “Sugary Drinks Take a Deathly Toll.”

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I came across the following article in the New York Times earlier this week, and although we aren’t in the midst of the 61 Day Challenge yet, it offers an excellent reminder of the dangers of consuming sugary drinks.

The first sentence is eye opening.

“Consumption of sugary drinks results in some 184,000 deaths worldwide each year, a new analysis found.”

Dr. Mozaffarian, Dean of the School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts, sums it up perfectly with this quote:

“There’s no need to drink these beverages. They’re causing tens of thousands of deaths, and we should eliminate them from the food supply.”

You can read more from the New York Times’ article on sugary drinks here: http://nyti.ms/1KscgRw

 

Obesity and Inactivity Rates Still Rising

In the annual “America’s Health Rankings”, a list calculated by the United Health Foundation (UHF), the American Public Health Association, and the Partnership for Prevention, both obesity and inactivity rates were still on the rise. The list assess each state’s performance on 27 core health measures, but perhaps the most important information that came to light was the following:

According to the report, U.S. residents are more sedentary than ever before, despite encouraging findings in last year’s report, and it is leading to greater prevalence of chronic conditions like obesity and diabetes.

Specifically, the report found that:
•29.4% of adults are obese, a 7% increase from 2013;
•23.5% of all residents are considered sedentary, up 3% from 2013; and
•9.6% of adults live with diabetes, more than double the number living from 20 years ago.

You can read the full article here. This again highlights the importance of healthy diet and exercise, and is another reminder of how the #61DayChallenge can help you with your fitness and health goals.

Join the 61 Day Challenge!

To learn more about the DMC 2014 61 Day Health Challenge and how it can help all of us to cut back on sugar and exercise more during the holiday season, just click on:   www.61daychallenge.com