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For Release: Feb. 14, 2011

Contact:

Leslea Bennett-Webb
Communications Director
Oklahoma State Department of Health
405.271.5601


Sjonna Paulson, APR
Director of Communications
Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust
405.521.3885

New Public Health Effort Launches in Oklahoma 5,320 Lives Can Be Saved Yearly

Oklahoma health advocates kicked off a statewide effort to improve the health of the citizens of the state today with a new campaign called Shape Your Future. The campaign was unveiled in Oklahoma City at a launch that was the culmination of the mysterious “5320” campaign that has appeared throughout Oklahoma the last four weeks. 

Gov. Mary Fallin, with the help of State Health Commissioner Dr. Terry Cline and other notable state leaders, discussed the need for bold action to improve Oklahoma’s poor health statistics. 

“The lives of 5,320 men and women could be saved each year if Oklahoma simply met the national average for health measures,” said Fallin. “The costs we pay in lives and the hundreds of millions of dollars our families and businesses pay in medical bills is a tragedy that continues to hold our state back. Oklahoma has the tools it needs to become a healthier, more prosperous state. It’s time to start using them and to empower our citizens to live healthier lives where they live, work and learn.”

Oklahoma currently ranks 46th among all states in major health status categories.  “Through the Oklahoma Health Improvement Plan, we already have a roadmap which can transform Oklahoma from a state that consistently reports poor health status to one that supports dynamic initiatives to help Oklahomans lead healthier lives,” said Cline. “Now is the time to enact the plan’s recommendations.  We’ve got to get moving!  At least 5,320 persons are dying needlessly each year due to factors that we can address now.”

To help accommodate recommendations from the Oklahoma Health Improvement Plan (OHIP), officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust developed a statewide social marketing campaign to provide Oklahomans with the information and tools they can use to make health improvements.

“We wanted to bring attention to the number ‘5,320’ first.  It’s a real number of mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons who would still be living if we paid more attention to health in Oklahoma,” said Tracey Strader, executive director of the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust .  “Now that people know the ‘5,320’ number and what it means, we hope they’ll be just as interested in the next phase of the campaign called Shape Your Future.”

The Shape Your Future campaign was developed specifically for Oklahomans and was created with input from research and focus groups around the state.  The new campaign highlights how individuals can Shape Your Future, in order to improve individual health.  

The second step of the campaign, Shape Our Future, focuses on enacting policies to improve community, business and school health such as OHIP’s current policy recommendations that include:

  • Restoring the rights of local communities to pass tobacco use prevention policies that are stronger than state law
  • Assuring health education is taught in all state public schools in sixth, seventh or eighth grade
  • Prohibiting the use of a hand-held electronic device while driving for all drivers under 18 years of age

The third step of the campaign, Shape Their Future, highlights strategies to improve health outcomes for Oklahoma’s children, including recommendations from OHIP’s new Oklahoma Children’s Health Plan.

“Without bold action that creates an environment where the healthy choice is the easy choice, the toll of chronic illnesses, increased medical costs and an unproductive workforce will be the shape of things to come,” said Cline. “Let’s turn the tide and Shape Our Future – 5,320 Oklahomans are counting on us.”

Also appearing at the launch event were Stanley Hupfeld, chairman, INTEGRIS Family of Foundations; Dr. Mary Anne McCaffree, chair, Oklahoma Children’s Health Flagship Workgroup; and Matt Robison, Vice President of Small Business and Workforce Development, The State Chamber of Oklahoma. Appearing by video were Gov. Bill Anaotubby, Chickasaw Nation; Theodore Noel, executive director, Guiding Right Inc.; Dr. Ben Cooper, chairman, Fit Kids of Southwest Oklahoma; Mayor Mick Cornett, Oklahoma City; and Tracey Strader, executive director, Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust.

Campaign details can be found at www.ShapeYourFutureOK.com.

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