Obesity & Chronic Disease

Moving forward with COVID-19 and building a more resilient Saginaw, we know without a doubt that reducing obesity is important.

Recent statistics about obesity rates TRIPLING in one generation have BWell Saginaw partners working harder than ever to collaborate and create new and different ways to address this growing concern in our community. Seventy-five percent of county residents self identify as obese or overweight – with 1 out of 3 children overweight and 1 out of 6 obese.

Adolescent Obesity Infographic pg 1
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Adult Obesity Infographic pg1
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As part of our BWell Saginaw Community Health Improvement Plan, five separate work groups will focus on five strategies to impact our obesity and chronic disease health priority. 

Community Health Improvement Plan

Step Up & BWell

Saginaw’s public school districts are piloting Step Up & BWell, a program encouraging students (as well as staff and teachers) to develop healthy exercise and eating habits. Guided by health resource advocates (HRAs) in each district, schools will compete with one another for bragging rights and tangible incentives by tracking their exercise and earning “stars” for other healthy behaviors such as eating fruits and vegetables and avoiding sugary beverages and junk food.
 Students are watching the “leader board” on the Step Up & BWell app. Incentive prizes are awarded to top teams quarterly. The community can follow all the action on the BWell Saginaw Facebook page.

 Families, too, will be encouraged to support and participate through a regular BWell newsletter from their school district.

Step Up & BWell is possible thanks to a grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.  It is designed to address Saginaw County’s obesity rate and the higher-than-average chronic health conditions that put county residents at greater risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. If successful, Step Up & BWell just might make it to your business or employer soon!

Lets all work together with schools to make Saginaw County one of Michigan’s Top 25 healthiest communities.

Watch Q2 2023 quarterly Step Up winners enjoy their prize — a celebration at Haithco Park!

BWell School Newsletters

Follow along with these monthly newsletters by district.

Thanks to Step Up & BWell Supporters

Zender's Splash Village Hotel & Water Park
Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland
Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn
Frankenmuth Aerial Park
Airborne Adventure Park

Who and what qualifies as “obese” or “overweight?

Body mass index (BMI) is a calculation made with your height and weight. It is an estimate of body fat and a good gauge of your risk for diseases that can occur with more body fat —  things like heart disease, high blood pressure, gallstones, type 2 diabetes, asthma, liver disease, and some cancers.

Here’s how BMI is categorized:

Underweight – under 18.5

Normal – 18.5-24.9

Overweight – 25-29.9

Obese – 30 and above

To reduce obesity and improve health outcomes in our community, we need to:

Physical Activity Icon

Increase physical activity countywide

Nutrition icon

Educate citizens about good nutrition

Activity Challenges

Recruit participants in physical activity challenges, healthy lifestyle education, and activity tracking through work, school, neighborhoods, churches, and organizations

Health Outcome Data Icon

Collect relevant data to help Saginaw improve its health outcomes

Why is obesity a serious risk factor with COVID-19?

Excess weight, particularly in the abdomen, pushes up on the diaphragm, causing restricted air flow to the lungs. This can result in shortness of breath on a day-to-day basis. Add on a respiratory illness like COVID-19, and breathing becomes even more difficult. Decreased lung capacity makes ventilation more difficult.

Children diagnosed with obesity may suffer even worse outcomes from COVID-19. In Saginaw County, that could be as many as 1 out of every 6 children.

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