According to the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department, 68.7 percent of adults and 30-40 percent of teens in the Upper Peninsula are overweight or obese. In Northern Michigan, nearly one-third of the adults have been diagnosed with hypertension, and 30 percent of the regional deaths are the result of heart disease. The Michigan Department of Community Health declared obesity to be the most critical issue facing residents of the Upper Peninsula. Obesity is associated with both heart and cardiovascular disease. One of the most effective ways to improve health and wellness is through education. The Blue Cross “Corporate Day” at the U.P. State Fair was dedicated to just that: equipping adults and children with the resources and information needed to live a healthier life. The Blue Cross tent featured various activities for children, including Healthy Kids Crafts led by the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum. The Marquette Food Co-Op presented a healthy cooking demonstration featuring sweet potato pancakes and a kale salad. Miss Upper Peninsula, Jimmie Vereb, provided fitness and wellness tips, and TV6 Chief Meteorologist, Karl Bonak, shared his expertise of the Escanaba area. BCBSM experts were also onsite performing free health screenings and body mass index (BMI) measurements, while offering valuable healthcare information and guidance. In addition to sponsoring Blue Cross Day, BCBSM is also a supporter of the Marquette Half Marathon and the Dome Walking Program at Northern Michigan University. In December 2013, BCBSM awarded a $100,000 grant to the Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center in Gwinn, making it possible for the clinic to provide health care treatment and services to thousands of families throughout the region. Photo credit: Adriane Davis
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