Statewide Health Improvement Program Working

Posted at: 02/27/2013 4:45 PM
Updated at: 02/27/2013 10:46 PM
By: Renee Passal

Despite dealing with some major budget cuts, the Statewide Health Improvement Program, also known as SHIP, has made an impact on hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans.

A three-year progress report was just released by the state on Wednesday. The goal is to reduce obesity, smoking rates, and health care costs, by improving healthy habits.

Regional coordinators Susan Michels and Annie Harala explained some of the impacts in the Northland.

"We've got a really strong connection with the schools. For example, Deer River has updated their schedule to include more health and fitness time. Cloquet has partnered with Super One to help parents pick out healthy snacks for kids," Harala said.

"Grand Marais has really taken off with their ideas. The sports teams have stopped going to fast food places after games, and now eat pre-planned Subway or other healthier meals from the local co-op deli," said Michels. "And the community is looking at how they can re-vamp their flow around Highway 61."

SHIP has played a role in helping organizations and schools implement no-smoking policies.

And it's more than just starting these changes. It's also some physical items, like the speeding sign on 6th Avenue East. It's designed to make drivers slow down, which could make it a safer place to walk.

Governor Mark Dayton is recommending more funding for SHIP in this next funding cycle.

State and federal dollars are leveraged to make parts of the program work.