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.]

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.

 

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!

Try To Stay Healthy This Sugar Season

I recently came across this article in the New York Times, and I urge everyone to read it. In this OP-ED, entitled “Sugar Season.It’s Everywhere, And Addictive,” the authors list the myriad health issues that can stem from sugar. They write,

“In a recent study, we showed that sugar, perhaps more than salt, contributes to the development of cardiovascular disease. Evidence is growing, too, that eating too much sugar can lead to fatty liver disease, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and kidney disease.”

The OP-ED continues, stressing the addictive nature of sugar, how sugar is everywhere in our lives, and how promoting “the consumption of whole, natural foods” can help us avoid the sweet stuff this sugar season.

You can read the article in its entirety HERE.

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

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

Here’s How to Avoid the “Fat Attacks” That Too Often Mar the Holiday Season

Let the holidays begin!

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s time once again to launch the season of marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes . . . cornbread drenched in melted butter . . . and the sugar-loaded soft drinks and cocktails that all too often inflame our appetites and lead to massive over-eating.

Let’s face it, my friends: for many of us, the holiday season has long been a license to gorge on huge helpings of calorie-loaded mashed potatoes and grease-laden turkey stuffing (along with the 20-ounce cola drinks and the snack-time goodies) which can trigger a runaway fat attack.

But let’s hang on a minute.  Before we dive into that second piece of gooey pecan pie, let’s ask ourselves: do we really have to consume all those thousands of fat-building calories in order to celebrate the holidays with good fellowship and good will to all?

Surprisingly enough, the answer is a resounding “no”!

For all of us who’ve taken the DMC 61 Day Health Challenge Pledge to abstain from sugary drinks, fried foods and “junk foods” until the end of the year, the good news is that there’s a better way to enjoy the holidays than stuffing ourselves with needless calories.

So what’s the first step on the road to making sure this holiday season doesn’t leave you feeling like a leftover stuffed sausage at the end of a Roman banquet?

The answer can be found in a single word: moderation.

To understand why that word is so important, consider this single fact: the typical Thanksgiving feast at grandma’s place (turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potato, mashed potato, cornbread, greens, pumpkin or pecan pie with whipped cream and beer, wine or spirits for the adults) often adds up to a whopping 3,500 calories . . . which turns out to be the same number of calories contained in a pound of fat.

A disturbing thought?

You bet it is.  Now add in the “extras” that so often accompany the holidays (those chocolate doughnuts for breakfast at grandma’s, and the pizza-blowout at lunchtime, with plenty of peppermint sticks and cheesy-flapdoodles in between) . . . and you can see why this time of year is such a calorie-trap for all of us.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

To avoid the dangers of overeating and overdrinking during the holidays, a really helpful strategy is: eat and drink more slowly than usual . . . while also eating less of each item on the menu.

And while we’re at it, here are a few other holiday “tips” designed to help us achieve moderation and cut down on the holiday calorie-count.

  • Eat a small, low-fat and high-fiber meal (fruit salad and a cereal bar?) before that giant feast at grandma’s, so you’ll feel less temptation to gorge on the mashed potatoes.
  • Drink less alcohol before the feast . . . since alcohol is notorious for its ability to inspire the human appetite.
  • A half-hour before the Big Dining Event, fill up on water or a sugar-free beverage.
  • As the holiday meal begins in earnest, follow the “Three-Quarters Rule” by loading 75 percent of your plate with non-fatty, low-sugar foods such as vegetables, fruit salad and lean meat.

 

My friends, there’s no doubt that the holidays represent a special challenge for all of us who’ve taken the “DMC Pledge” to improve our health by cutting back on sugar and exercising more between now and the end of the calendar year.

But there’s also no doubt that we can meet that challenge . . . by using our heads and thinking about every forkful and spoonful we put into our mouths at this festive time of the year.

Here’s wishing all of us a joyful, happy and healthy holiday season, as we gather to say thanks for all our blessings in 2014!

[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]