LANSING (WWJ) – Governor Rick Snyder is defending his proposal to help Michigan shape up. The Republican governor is calling for a statewide “body mass index” database of children to track obesity anonymously.
Snyder doesn’t feel his plan is an invasion of privacy and said it would become an extension of childhood immunization records, which are already on file in Lansing.
“It’s easier for kids and their parents to see how they’ve done. If they happen to move, for healthcare professionals to check in on that, on a confidential basis. But it gives us good information on public health and so all this would do is add another field to that database that many of us have been apart of for a long time.”
Snyder said compared to the rest of the country, Michigan adults and children are too overweight.
“We have a lot of room for improvement and it’s a great opportunity. We need to do it because it’s in our own best interests in terms of a great quality of life. In adult obesity, we’re in the tenth worst in the country, which is not a good statistic at all. And unfortunately childhood obesity continues to grow. About 12 percent of our kids are already classified as obese, which is not good.”
Snyder said multiple components make up his health care message, but a major focus is placed on children.
“One, we want to do more in the area of infant mortality, and so we’re going to have a summit focusing on prenatal care and issues focusing on teen pregnancy… that deal with infant mortality. And then for the kids in school, I’ve asked the Department of Agriculture to continue to work on some good programs… to try to get more fresh fruits and vegetables into our schools.”
For the next budget year, Snyder said his administration is also working to expand the Healthy Kids Dental program further throughout the state.