Making America Healthier WEEKEND 02.17.2012

By Peggy Noonan

Too many Americans are fat. Too many have diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic problems, or are well on their way to developing them. Our leaders debate solutions, but a nationwide health remedy remains elusive.
The good news! State and local solutions already are making a difference in people’s lives. Here’s one sample of impressive results:

Ohio: “Be Fit 4 Life”
Like most health and fitness programs, the first goal of a Be Fit 4 Life, a spinoff of Lake Health in Lake County, in northeast Ohio, is to help people in the community improve fitness and be healthier. But its second goal is to improve economic development by reducing local health care costs to create a more business-friendly environment.

Now in its third year, the program starts with a basic assessment and screening on January 1. Participants form teams of 20 and score points for fitness activities they take part in each month, which can be anything from walking to Zumba, do sledding to kick boxing, cross-country skiing to yoga and more.
By the time the program ends in June with a 5K half-marathon, people have been exposed to a variety of fitness activities. The organizers hope that encouraging people to try lots of activities will help them find one or more they can stick with long-term. And that will help lower health care costs and, in turn, make the community more attractive for economic development.
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