Governor Martin O'Malley today, joined by the Coalition for a Healthy Maryland, Delegate Jon Cardin, members of the Executive Cabinet, state and local elected officials, and health advocates at Truxtun Park's Roger W. "Pip" Moyer Recreation Center, officially proclaimed May 29th through June 3rd as the first "Healthy Maryland Week."
Healthy Maryland Week encourages Marylanders to lead a healthier life by promoting wellness through physical fitness, healthy food choices, and preventative care. The Administration has partnered with the Coalition for a Healthy Maryland to hold events throughout the week to highlight the importance of health and wellness.
"Today, we're here to kick off a week's worth of events to get the word out about the importance of healthy lifestyle choices, and the resources and opportunities available in every community to live a healthy lifestyle," said Governor O'Malley. "Together, we're setting some big goals in Maryland to create a better, healthier future for our children. There are some challenges so large that we can only hope to tackle them together. Creating jobs and expanding opportunity is one, and everything we do to improve the health of our people and save lives is another."
On Thursday, Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown will highlight the Administration's efforts to address health disparities at an event that offers free screenings for diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol in Prince George's County. The Lt. Governor leads the Administration's efforts to reduce costs, expand access, and improve the quality of health care for all Marylanders. Under the leadership of Governor O'Malley and Lt. Governor Brown, Maryland has implemented reforms that have expanded health coverage to over 300,000 Marylanders (half of them children).
"Every Marylander, of every race, ethnicity, and nationality, in every part of our state, deserves the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life," said Lt. Governor Brown. "Our partnerships with the Coalition for a Healthy Maryland, local health departments and other organizations are critical for improving the health of our communities. During Healthy Maryland Week, we will join together across the state to help educate Marylanders about the benefits of healthy living and highlight the innovative programs available to encourage wellness and prevention."
"The Coalition for a Healthy Maryland is delighted to be celebrating Healthy Maryland Week, highlighting organizations and people around the State whose efforts are improving health and preventing disease for our citizens," said Tim Rhode, director of the Coalition for a Healthy Maryland. "The importance of their success, as a preventive measure to ward-off escalating obesity rates and skyrocketing health care costs, cannot possibly be overstated. In virtually every sector: public or private, individual or group, medical, commercial or recreational, people around Maryland are making a difference. The purpose of Healthy Maryland Week is to celebrate their success and promote the many options we have to live healthy in this great State. "
While at Truxtun Park, the Governor also promoted the importance of buying local through the Civic Works' Real Food Farm mobile market, which increases access to food by providing fresh produce to local Baltimore communities.
The O'Malley-Brown Administration has set strategic goals to End Childhood Hunger in the State by 2015 and to Reduce Infant Mortality in Maryland by 10 percent by 2012. In March, the Administration launched a new means of tracking data and measuring the wellness of employees through StateStat called "Wellness Stat." The new Stat has goals to foster an environment that promotes healthy eating and active living at state agencies and facilities; enhance state health plan coverage of cost-effective and evidence-based practices; and establish tobacco-free campuses. All three goals are based on research which shows that 80 percent of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes and 40 percent of certain cancers can be prevented through healthy eating, daily physical activity, and tobacco-free living.