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.]

Congrats to Mo Minard and Kelley Marks For Meeting the DMC Health Challenge!

Mo Minard

Mo Minard

Six weeks down and two to go!

That’s how much time remains in the third annual DMC 61 Day Health Challenge . . . during which hundreds and hundreds of Detroit-area residents have been doing a great job of “taking in less sugar, taking more steps and eating more fruit.”

Among those determined health-seekers are several hundred members of the Detroit Police Department – which is now partnering with the DMC in its own yearlong program to eat better and exercise more in order to better serve the citizenry in 2016.

But the ranks of this year’s Pledge-takers also include two outstanding professionals whose powerful stories can serve as an inspiration to us all.

Let me start with the hard-charging Imana “Mo” Minard, MSN-RN, currently the manager of both the DMC’s Emergency Department and its Clinical Decision Unit.

Six weeks ago, Mo Minard “went public” with a vow to successfully complete the DMC 61 Day Health Challenge by losing a significant amount of the extra weight she’s been carrying around for years.

Guess what?

Mo has already shed 24 pounds – and she says that the “good eating and exercise habits” she’s picked up during the Challenge are going to be part of her daily life from now on.

“It’s been going really well,” says Mo, “and it’s also getting easier each day. I’ve been tempted at times – just the other day I lost a dear friend at a hospice, and I was grieving over it, and I realized that I wanted a chocolate bar with caramel. But I didn’t give in. I sat at my desk and I said: let me put a piece of sugarless gum in my mouth instead of that candy bar.

“I was proud of myself for that and I’m going to keep on avoiding empty sugar calories and exercising every day from now on.”

These days, Mo says she’s feeling newly empowered and upbeat and she told me just last week that she expects to be “down a hundred pounds” by the time next year’s Challenge rolls around.

Like Mo Minard, the high-spirited and fiercely determined Kelley Marks has also been meeting the Challenge successfully in recent weeks. Mrs. Marks, who owns a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech and Language Pathology from Wayne State University and is currently raising three children with her husband of 12 years, took the Challenge Pledge in early November . . . and has already lost 29 pounds.

“I have been sharing my story in the hope that it will be a blessing to somebody,” says Mrs. Marks, now 37. “In early November when I took the Pledge I weighed 406 pounds and I knew that I needed to confront my weight problem. With the help of the Challenge – and also with lots of prayer – I have already lost 29 pounds and I feel absolutely great about that!

“I didn’t think I could do it but I am doing it. I have a lot of people around me who are very supportive and that has also helped a lot. I think that over-eating and being overweight starts in your mind – and I think of my struggle to change that behavior as The Battle of the Mind. I am now starting to win that battle and it’s a wonderful feeling.

“I am going to continue the Challenge into the next year and I truly believe it is going to help me learn to find enjoyment in something beyond chocolate – and losing all this weight is going to help me get much healthier in my life!”

As a physician and a hospital president, I can tell you that the DMC Health Challenge stories now being told by Mo Minard and Kelley Marks are sweet music to these ears.

Here’s wishing them and the rest of us a joyful – and a sugar-free – holiday season, as the DMC 61 Day Health Challenge enters the homestretch and zooms toward New Year’s Eve!

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

A Major New Health Study Finds That Sugar Is a Toxic Substance

You can imagine how I felt, just the other day, when I picked up a copy of Time magazine and read that junk-food sugar is now being described by some health experts as a toxic substance!

It’s true.

The news broke in the Oct. 27 issue of Time, which reported that a California-based researcher – Dr. Robert H. Lustig in the Pediatrics Department at the University of California, San Francisco – had published a major study (in the journal Obesity) in which he found that the kind of sugar we find in soda pop actually works as a kind of nutritional poison when we consume too much of it.

During the Lustig study (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/oby.21371/abstract), 43 children from ages 8 to 18 were fed a special diet for nine straight days in which most of the sugar they normally ate each day was replaced by starch (from foods such as noodles, bagels, cereals, etc.).

The bottom line: at the end of the nine-day test, the kids involved scored much better on several key health indicators that measure the negative effects of too much sugar on the human body.

Example: The overall average blood-sugar level (which can be a risk factor for obesity, hypertension, diabetes and even heart disease when too high) declined by more than 50 percent.

Example No. 2:  Some of the kids on the low-sugar diet went from being “insulin resistant” (a precursor of diabetes) to “insulin sensitive” – a clear indicator that the body is efficiently and effectively managing the daily intake of sugar.

Thank you, Dr. Lustig!

As many of you know, I’ve spent a lot of time during the past few years campaigning emphatically in favor of reducing our daily intake of unhealthy sugar from soda pop, candy and other junk foods.

As a matter of fact, cutting back on empty sugar calories (while also exercising more and eating more fruit) is the main goal of this year’s “61-Day Health Challenge” – the annual DMC-sponsored health-education program in which participants are asked to abstain from soda pop, fried foods and other junk foods during the months of November and December.

The Challenge got off to a rousing start on Oct. 30 (only three days after the publication of the Time story) . . . when dozens of Detroit-area community activists joined a mob of enthusiastic high school students and DMC employees in a crowded auditorium at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

Now well into its third week, the 2015 Challenge is already going great guns.  With hundreds of Michiganders having sworn to obey the Challenge motto (“Less sugar, more steps, eat more fruit!”), the campaign to cut back on junk-eating during the holiday season is up and running at full throttle.

As a medical doctor and a hospital president who’s determined to help educate Detroit-area residents on the importance of good nutrition and the benefits to be had from frequent moderate exercise, I’m fired up as never before about the Challenge and its message for all of southeast Michigan.

Which is why I was so excited to open my copy of Time the other day and read a headline that said: “Sugar Is Definitely Toxic, a New Study Says.”

According to Time, that groundbreaking new study has now confirmed what we knew all along – which is that healthy living starts with healthy eating (and exercising)!

If you want to read the story for yourself and learn more about the crucial links between good nutrition and good health, you can go online at:  http://time.com/4087775/sugar-is-definitely-toxic-a-new-study-says/.

 

To learn more about the DMC 2015 61 Day Health Challenge and how you can take part, just click on www.dmc.org/61days.

 

Adult Obesity Rates Continue To Rise

Some bad news. According to CDC researchers around 38% of American adults were obese in 2013 and 2014. This is an increase from 35% in 2011 and 2012.

After looking at weight since 1999, researchers agree that adult obesity rates have risen significantly in the last 10 years. When compared with data from a decade ago, there has been a significant rise. In 2003 and 2004, around 32% of adults were obese, compared to the latest 38% figure.

The New York Times quotes Marion Nestle, a professor in the department of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University. She says:

“The trend is very unfortunate and very disappointing. Everybody was hoping that with the decline in sugar and soda consumption, that we’d start seeing a leveling off of adult obesity.”

Now is the perfect opportunity to do something about your health…

Eat Right, Feel Better. Take the 61 Day Challenge!

The 61 Day Challenge is a health education campaign focusing on fitness, nutrition, health education and commitment to living a healthier life. It is an annual community program with a 61 day focus on healthy lifestyle management. Individuals and groups of all ages and backgrounds participating in the challenge are encouraged to Take the Pledge, promising to make healthy changes in their life. You can learn more about our 61 Day Challenge HERE.

Here’s wishing all of us a Happy National Eating Healthy Day, Nov. 4!

DMC CEO Joe Mullany at the #DMC61DayChallenge Kick Off Event

DMC CEO Joe Mullany at the #DMC61DayChallenge Kick Off Event

Did you know that Wednesday (November 4) is National Eating Healthy Day – a nationwide celebration of all the terrific health benefits to be gained by paying closer attention to what we eat and drink?

It’s true.  Sponsored each year by the American Heart Association (AHA), National Eating Healthy Day was created in order to remind all of us that guzzling soda pop and wolfing French fries can lead to some very bad outcomes . . . such as obesity, hypertension, adult-onset diabetes and even fatal heart disease.

But those kinds of horrific health problems can often be avoided – simply by saying no to that next sugar doughnut or gooey holiday dessert cake . . . while also exercising moderately each day and educating ourselves better about healthy nutrition.

That’s a pretty important message, don’t you think?

Of course, it also happens to be the same message we’re putting out every day between now and January 1, here at the Detroit Medical Center . . . as the fourth annual DMC 61 Day Health Challenge swings into high gear!

To learn more about how you can celebrate National Eating Healthy Day and pick up some helpful tips about healthier grocery shopping and nutrition basics, just click on: www.dmc.org/61Days

Eat Right, Feel Better. Take the 61 Day Challenge!

Hundreds attended the 61 Day Challenge Kick-off on Friday; it’s time to take the pledge and join

22584820746_863772fd78_o (1)Several hundred DMC employees, physicians and community members, joined DMC executives and special guests in a packed auditorium at Children’s Hospital Friday, to take the pledge and kick off the 61-Day Challenge to eat better and get more exercise.

DMC CEO Joe Mullany talked about what the challenge means for Detroit Medical Center. Other speakers included Challenge founder Dr. Reginald Eadie, CEO of Detroit Receiving and Harper-Hutzel Hospitals, Chief Administrative Officer Conrad Mallett, event emcee WDIV Local 4 news anchor Rhonda Walker, Weight Watcher’s president and CEO Florine Mark, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans and Detroit Police Chief James Craig.

Quindell Peyton, a Cornerstone Health +Technology High School student, performed a poem about time and drew two standing ovations from the audience. He talked about the tick tock, ticking and tocking away of time. You can’t stop it, but you do have a choice of whether to use it or abuse it, he said. Those in the auditorium vowed to make the most of their time for health over the next 61 days. With right hands raised and repeating after The Honorable Conrad Mallett, they said in unison, “I pledge to not harm my body by not drinking soda pop, eating fried food, and consuming sweets. I will eat more fresh fruit and increase my exercise activity.”

The 61 Day Challenge officially starts Sunday, Nov. 1. New for this year is “Step Up with Andrei”, an exercise challenge from DMC COO Andrei Soran, inviting DMC employees to take more steps than he does during the 61 Day Challenge period, and be eligible to win great prizes, including gift cards worth up to $150. It’s time to make a change and you know it, so get on board. (More Photos)

Learn more at www.DMC.org/61Days or use the hashtag #DMC61DayChallenge on social media.

Mo Minard & The DMC 61 Day Challenge

DSC_8875

Mo Minard

Hello, all.

In today’s edition of Paging Dr. Eadie, I’d like to begin by telling you about an outstanding Detroit Medical Center (DMC) professional named Imana “Mo” Minard.

Ms. Minard is the highly skilled MSN-RN who for the past several years has been managing both the Emergency Department and the Clinical Decision Unit here at the DMC.

She has impressive credentials and a well-earned reputation as a savvy manager who never loses her cool, regardless of the situation in the Emergency Department.

But I’m also quite impressed by a recent personal decision Ms. Minard made – the decision to join this year’s 61 Day Health Challenge, so she can begin losing some of that extra weight she says she hasn’t enjoyed carrying around with her during the past few years.

To show you why I’m excited for her, please let me back up for a second and explain a couple of things.

First of all you should know that 42-year-old Mo Minard is an accomplished healthcare professional . . . a disciplined manager with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in nursing.  (She also spent more than ten years as an emergency paramedic with the City of Detroit Fire Department, so you know she’s a veteran pro with the courage and the savvy required to take care of business in any emergency setting.)

Mo’s tough, for sure.

But just like the rest of us, she’s also very human.

And when her beloved father, Tony Moore, died suddenly a couple of years back, Mo went into an extended period of agonizing grief.

As she struggled to come to terms with her shattering loss, she took comfort wherever she could.

“Food can be very comforting,” Mo was explaining just the other day, “and it never talks back to you.  You can always count on it to be there when you need it.  And while I was struggling with my dad’s death, I ate almost constantly.”

After more than two years of this excessive over-eating, Mo says she’s now afraid to get on the scale: “I can’t face what I know it will tell me,” she explained with a sigh of alarm.  “I’m sure I’ve gained 50-60 pounds, and I must be up near 300 pounds, at this point.”

In recent months, however, Mo has become increasingly determined to start shedding the excess poundage.  “I’m tired of feeling uncomfortable all the time,” she says, “and I know that being this overweight is very bad for my overall health.”

A bummer, right?  But it’s easy to imagine the bright flash of hope that Mo experienced a few weeks ago when she learned about the DMC 61 Day Health Challenge.

(The annual Challenge, in case you haven’t heard yet, is  a two-month period – November through December – in which Detroit-area residents both young and old take a special pledge to eat better, exercise more and learn more about good health and nutrition.)

This year’s Challenge will begin with a special KICK OFF gala event at the DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan Auditorium in midtown Detroit, from ten a.m. to noon on Friday, October 30.

As Mo Minard discovered only recently, the Challenge was launched at DMC Harper Hospital a few years back, when I and a few of my colleagues realized that if we could help participants to avoid excess sugar and fried foods – while also eating more healthy fruit, exercising more and learning more about nutrition – all of us working together might be able to help make a dent in the so-called “obesity epidemic.”

This year’s Challenge Motto says it all, my friends: Less sugar, more steps, EAT MORE FRUIT!

As always, this year’s KICK OFF will be marked by the high-energy participation of our 2015 “Challenge Community Partners” – all of whom will be taking this year’s Challenge Pledge.  There will also be plenty of music, along with some upbeat presentations by different groups who are vowing to join the Challenge.

The gala Oct. 30 event is sure to be lots of fun . . . and Mo Minard says she can’t wait for the action to begin.

“As a professional healthcare provider, I know that education is the key to better health,” she said the other day, “and I’m excited about the opportunity to take part in this year’s Challenge.

“For several months now, I’ve been telling myself: You can do it, Mo.  You can do this.  Don’t be afraid of failure.  If you slip once or twice, that’s okay . . . because with the 61 Day Challenge, recovery can always begin at your very next mealtime.

“Right now I’m feeling very optimistic about taking the Pledge – see you October 30th at the KICK OFF!”

[To learn more about the KICK OFF event, contact Tonita Cheatham at 313-966-4012 or cheatham@dmc.org.]