The rising cost of health care is a significant challenge facing Southwest Michigan families and job providers today. Two-thirds of Michigan adults are currently overweight or obese, which ends up costing us billions of dollars in annual medical expenses. We must turn this tide or health care costs will continue to strain our economy and pocketbooks.
Becoming a healthier Michigan will enhance the quality of our lives and help our economy by reducing costs.
Gov. Rick Snyder recently presented his “Special Message to the Legislature on Health and Wellness” which contained several recommendations concerning obesity and nutrition.
I thank the governor for making it a priority to improve the health of Michigan residents, and for including increasing healthy food choices and addressing child obesity as key initiatives to achieve this goal.
I co-sponsored the cottage food industry law last year to increase access for families to healthy, locally-grown foods at farmers’ markets and roadside stands, something we have plenty of in Southwest Michigan. It was about eliminating barriers to entrepreneurship and boosting the economy, but it was also about encouraging people to eat healthier.
I know the value of being fit and healthy. In fact, I have been named Healthiest Legislator for five years running; an honor that is determined by miles walked. Therefore, I am very excited that the governor is stressing the importance of physical activity for our kids. More than 12 percent of Michigan children are obese—a startling statistic. Throughout my time in the Legislature, I have looked for ways to combat child obesity, and I look forward to working with the governor to address this rising challenge without increasing costs to schools.