The YMCA of Saginaw is implementing evidence-based programs designed to get people living healthier lifestyles.

Healthy Weight and Your Child looks to combat childhood obesity, Live Strong at the YMCA helps adult cancer survivors reclaim their well being following a cancer diagnosis and Blood Pressure Self Monitoring helps improve diet and exercise to get high blood pressure under control. Experts say diet and exercise can combat many types of ailments, including cancer, dementia, depression, obesity and more. The Y is working with Central Michigan University School of Medicine and the Michigan Health Improvement Alliance (MiHIA) to implement the programs.

Saginaw County was listed in 2018 as number one in the state for obesity at 39 percent. President and CEO of MiHIA Beth Roszatycki says several factors contribute to those high numbers, including a low access to healthy foods and low opportunity to access exercise.

Of the children around the country participating in the Healthy Weight and Your Child program, 81 percent have reduced their body mass index. Interim president and CEO of the Saginaw YMCA Steve Meyer says this is good news for the county.

“If we follow the program and do things the way that they are spelled out, we get the results that are desired… We know when people are healthier, they’re happier. When they’re happier, they contribute to the community. “