INShape Indiana Helps Hoosiers Get Fit
Many New Year’s resolutions involve big plans for diet and exercise, as well as kicking bad habits such as smoking once and for all. Hoosiers with these goals in mind can take advantage of healthy lifestyle initiatives set up by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.
When he took office in 2005, the fitness-minded governor launched INShape Indiana, a Web-based program designed to encourage state residents to eat better, move more and avoid tobacco. Today, more than 87,000 Hoosiers from all 92 counties have signed up to get INShape.
“Governor Daniels lives and breathes the message for INShape Indiana and so does the first lady,” program director Ellen Whitt says. “The first lady walks every day, and Governor Daniels runs, swims and lifts weights. You can usually find him at the gym on his lunch break when he’s in town.”
Getting Started With INShape
Participants can get involved with INShape through a variety of ways. Everyone who signs up gets a weekly e-mail featuring topics that range from goal setting to what kind of walking shoes to buy. All deal with some aspect of improving nutrition, increasing physical activity or stopping smoking.
Quarterly programming initiatives aim to further engage Hoosiers and get them personally involved. Last year, First Lady Cheri Daniels spearheaded INShape’s Ready, Set, Walk initiative – a six-week program designed to encourage people to walk. Other incentives have included the Quit Now Indiana contest, where Indiana residents who successfully gave up tobacco use had the chance to win $2,500.
INShapes’s website also serves as a clearinghouse for health information, healthy recipes, current and past initiatives, and links to community programs. Perhaps most inspiring is the section that features individual, community and corporate success stories. Hoosiers can read about the overweight Indianapolis police detective who lost 80 pounds and now runs triathlons; a YMCA that partnered with an elementary school to address a growing pediatric diabetes problem; Indiana businesses that help employees stop smoking; and others. Residents can even follow Governor Daniels’ personal fitness plan.
Improving Quality of Life
Though the program stems in part from Governor Daniels’ personal commitment to fitness, INShape Indiana is also a direct response to the state’s staggering obesity and smoking rates. Some 65 percent of the population is either overweight or obese, and almost 30 percent smoke.
“First and foremost, addressing these issues improves the quality of life for each individual,” Ellen observes. “These three behaviors – or lack of them – lead to or exacerbate almost every chronic disease you can name. But these issues also impact our state in so many different ways. Governor Daniels’ goal is to bring the state together to conquer its health problems.”
Thought it’s been six years since it was launched, the program continues to grow and change. In 2008, INShape Indiana partnered with the Indiana State Department of Health to win a five-year CDC grant to address the growing problem of obesity. INShape also helped craft the state’s 10-year obesity plan that was released last fall.
It may be years before the true impact of the program is known, but the governor hopes he has planted seeds that will grow well past his two terms in office.
To sign up for INShape Indiana, log on at www.in.gov/inshape.
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