LANSING, Mich. (WWJ/AP) – The Michigan Department of Community Health on Wednesday asked residents to agree to lose 10 percent of their body weight in an effort to bring down the state’s obesity rate.

The department launched the “MI Healthier Tomorrow” campaign to educate residents about the health problems associated with obesity and to call on residents to join a statewide weight-loss effort.

“The primary message … is that you as a Michigander can do much to lower your risk for a variety of chronic diseases by making some decisions regarding your weight,” department Director James Haveman said. “People can’t wait. They need to start making decisions today.”

Residents who choose to participate in the program will be sent a free “Getting Started Kit” in the mail and also can sign up to receive text messages or emails with motivation tips or healthy recipes.

Losing 10 percent of one’s body weight helps lower the risk for a health concerns including high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes, according to the department.

Haveman said the program presents a way to save dollars and lives.

“Eighty-eight percent of the claims in health care are related to life choices,” Haveman told WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick. “We have to have people start grasping that that there’s a relationship between health care costs, chronic conditions and their individual decisions.”

Health officials say lowering the state’s obesity rate could reduce Michigan’s health care costs by approximately $357 million.

The campaign comes out of a recommendation from last June’s Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 plan, which tasked the department to create a message to fight obesity in the nation’s fifth heaviest state.

An estimated 1.5 million Michigan adults and 800,000 Michigan kids are considered overweight.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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