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FOR RELEASE: April 6, 2007
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications

Strong and Healthy Oklahoma Initiative Launched

To help Oklahomans overcome the barriers to improving their health, Gov. Brad Henry today launched the Strong and Healthy Oklahoma initiative. This statewide effort to improve the health and wellness of Oklahomans encourages all Oklahomans to eat better, move more and be tobacco free where we live, work and learn.

The Strong and Healthy Oklahoma initiative, which includes a statewide plan, a pocket-sized guidebook and a Web site, was developed to address Oklahoma’s urgent health problems that result mostly from obesity, lack of physical fitness, and tobacco use.

“Our state faces significant challenges to good health, including a fast-paced lifestyle that prevents us from making the right health choices,” said Gov. Henry. “As a result, we have developed poor health habits that include neglecting exercise and opting for the convenience of fast food over healthier food selections. However, there are easy and sensible steps we can take to improve our health and quality of life where we live, work and learn.”

The “Guide to a Strong and Healthy Oklahoma” provides simple, fun and creative ways to make healthy choices every day. The guide also includes a list of health improvement resources that citizens can access in their communities. The guide is available through the Oklahoma State Department of Health, local county health departments, Career Techs, and numerous other organizations throughout the state. The guide can also be accessed online at the Strong and Healthy Oklahoma Web site.

The Web site, www.strongandhealthy.ok.gov has the latest resources, calendar of events, and tips for eating better, moving more and being tobacco free.
“In addition to the guidebook and Web site, the governor’s Strong and Healthy Oklahoma Advisory Committee is continuing to advance a plan to connect programs and partnerships throughout the state that will provide access to health resources and sustain health improvement activities in communities, worksites, and educational settings,” said State Health Commissioner and Cabinet Secretary for Health Dr. Mike Crutcher.

Among the ideas designed to help Oklahomans “Eat Better,” Strong and Healthy Oklahoma suggests these tips:

  • Look for the words “whole grain” before you buy breads and cereals.
  • Watch portion sizes when eating to help control calories.
  • Read food labels to make sure you are getting the nutrients your body needs.
  • Make your plate a rainbow of colors with the different fruits and vegetables.

Oklahomans are encouraged to move more each day, but it is important to know that being active doesn’t have to be painful or boring. Instead, imagine doing fun activities you enjoy. Some ideas to help you “Move More” include:

  • Skip the drive thru and walk in.
  • Pay inside instead of paying at the pump.
  • Take an extra lap around the grocery store before checking out.
  • Join a dance class or a softball league.

Tobacco use causes the death of nearly 6,000 Oklahomans each year, or about 16 people each day. In Oklahoma, more than $2 billion is spent each year for smoking related medical care and lost productivity. This burden stunts business growth and prevents our state from reaching our fullest potential. While tobacco harms the user, secondhand tobacco smoke also threatens the health of nonsmokers. Some suggestions to help you “Be Tobacco Free” include:

  • Get support from the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669).
  • Support businesses that choose to Breathe Easy (www.breatheeasyok.com).
  • Encourage your worksite to go tobacco free for the health of the employees.
  • Be a role model for your children and others around you – Be Tobacco Free!

For more information on a Strong and Healthy Oklahoma, visit this Web site:
www.strongandhealthy.ok.gov. To obtain a copy of the guide, visit your local county health department or Career Tech.


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