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

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.]

 

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.

Are More Americans Saying “NO” To Soda Pop?

An interesting article was sent to me a few days ago, it was a Gallup Poll that indicates that Americans are increasingly learning to say “No” to soda pop… This is heartening news indeed.

Majority of Americans Say They Try to Avoid Drinking Soda

Americans are more likely to say they actively try to avoid including soda or pop in their diet than 14 other foods, including sugar and fat. At least six in 10 U.S. adults say they are trying to steer clear of these drinks — regardless of whether they are diet or regular.

You can read the full Gallup article, and its interesting results by clicking HERE

The 61 Day Challenge is a health education campaign that includes: fitness, nutrition, health education and commitment. More specifically, it is an annual 61 day focus on healthy lifestyle management. People (or groups) that participate in the annual challenge are strongly encouraged to adhere to and manage the requested health challenge. This year’s health challenge is: The Less Sugar – More Steps challenge is a call to consume less refined sugars, substitute with complex sugars and increase physical activity.
Learn more at www.61DayChallenge.com!