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Published September 04, 2010, 12:00 AM

Streets Alive! aims to change community’s daily lifestyles

On Sunday, Sept. 19 from noon to 5 p.m. come be a part of the action as the streets come alive again.

By: Dennis Millirons, Kevin Pitzer, Paul von Ebers, Jerry Rogers, INFORUM

On Sunday, Sept. 19 from noon to 5 p.m. come be a part of the action as the streets come alive again. In downtown Fargo-Moorhead, a five-mile loop of streets will be closed to motorized vehicles so that you can walk, bike, run, dance or roll freely and safely.

Streets Alive! has the power to transform our communities. This event comes at a crucial time in medical history. We cannot afford to be inactive any longer. Nearly two-thirds of North Dakotans and Minnesotans are either overweight or obese. Obese populations accounted for $303.1 billion in health care costs nationally in 2006, nearly doubling the

$166.7 billion spent in 2001. If current trends continue, our entire nation will be obese by 2048.

As leaders from the area’s public health organizations, largest medical providers and medical payers, we support Streets Alive! and advocate a communitywide change in our daily lifestyles. Every day, we make decisions about what we eat and how much physical activity we get. Studies show diets high in fruits and vegetables and routine physical activity can help prevent obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, some cancers and other chronic conditions. For all of us, a lifestyle rich in physical activity and health food is the correct prescription.

As the medical experts, parents, adults and role models in our communities, we must lead by example. The decisions we make will affect our children – behaviors developed during childhood track strongly to adulthood.

In a very real way, we have the ability to reverse the current obesity trend. Take care of yourself and teach your children to do the same, and join us as we take the opportunity to change the statistics in our community. Streets Alive! will be good for the body, mind and soul of your families and your community.

Come out to Streets Alive! Jump on Broadway, Center Avenue, Island Park, Woodlawn Park or Oak Grove Park.

Millirons is president, Sanford Medical Center; Pitzer is chief administrative officer, Innovis Health; von Ebers is president/CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota; Rogers, MD, is medical consultant, Cass County Public Health; Baird, MD, is health officer, Fargo Cass Public Health.