Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Leadership Needed? Look No Further.

When I read the April 1st Valley State Gazette article reporting the 2011 Gallup Healthways survey results, I hoped it was an April Fool’s joke. Does West Virginia really lead the country in obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and eight other chronic conditions? Sadly, yes, and much to my chagrin.

As I read the article, Leadership Needed, Health Officials Say, I became more and more distraught. My State has the country’s worst statistics in 10 of 12 survey categories, and obesity is at the root of most of the conditions. This hits close to home for me. My life’s work has been in helping families take better care of themselves through healthy eating. I know all too well that as long as people continue to make poor food choices and skimp on physical activity they’ll gain weight and develop the chronic conditions reported on in the study.

The silver lining is that obesity is preventable. It’s also reversible. If anyone has seen the impact of weight loss on health, it’s me. I serve as the Area Director of the Weight Watchers organization. Through working with thousands of people over the years and helping them take control of their health, I’ve learned a few things. I’ll venture to guess that many people in West Virginia—and across the country—know they need to change, want to change, but don’t know how to change. That’s where I can help.

I sent a letter to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, answering the call for leadership and offering my services. It’s been many years since I applied for a job, but I heard the battle cry to stand up for health! I’m ready, willing, and able to rally the masses to take steps toward better health. I’ve got so many ideas that need to be heard and I’m raring to go.

I recognize that change of this magnitude will happen through a combination of initiatives including public education, public policy, and healthcare reform; if I don’t work directly with a state program, I’ll carry on my mission to make health a top priority among my Weight Watchers community, The Shape Shop customers, my Lean & Luscious cookbooks and my friends and family and you.

Let’s empower ourselves to affect healthy change. I want to make a difference in my state’s health and throughout the country and I’ll do what it takes to make an impact. Will you join me?

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