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MidMichigan Health Cuts Out Trans Fats Beginning March 1
Date:2/25/2009

MIDLAND, Mich., Feb. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a unified effort to help address the public health concern of obesity in Michigan, MidMichigan Health will go trans fat free effective March 1. As a result, trans fats will be eliminated from patient meals, cafeteria menus, catering services, vending machines and gift shop shelves at MidMichigan Medical Centers in Alma, Clare, Gladwin and Midland, as well as MidMichigan Stratford Village and Gladwin Pines.

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MidMichigan Health is a leader among other hospitals and health systems participating is the statewide elimination of trans fats within health care organizations. This movement was initiated by the Michigan Health & Hospital Association, with their goal of removing all trans fats from hospitals by Jan. 1, 2010.

"Obesity is a major cause of preventable illness," said Richard M. Reynolds, president of MidMichigan Health. "As a health care leader, MidMichigan Health has a responsibility to encourage, promote and support healthy lifestyles. Offering healthier food choices for our patients, visitors and employees confirms our commitment to the well-being of all of the lives we touch."

Trans fats are used in food production to add to the shelf life of food and preserve flavor. They can be found in vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, cookies, snack foods, and other foods made with or fried in partially hydrogenated oils. Trans fats are created when oils are transformed into solids through a process called hydrogenation. However, adding hydrogen to the oil makes it a health hazard.

"In this form, the trans fat is more likely to cause weight gain, clog arteries and cause other health issues," said Stephanie Leibfritz, R.N., community education coordinator for MidMichigan Health. "Trans fats raise bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and lower good cholesterol levels (HDL), which in turn can increase a person's risk for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes."

All fats are not created equal. While all have the same number of calories, different types of fats affect the body differently.

"Some fats are good for you," Leibfritz said. "Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can lower your risk of some diseases and certain fats, like omega-6 and omega-3, play a vital role in brain function and are necessary for good health. The key is to eat small amounts of good fats and completely avoid trans fats."

Those interested in eliminating trans fats from their diet may request a "Making Healthy Substitutions" recipe guide by calling MidMichigan Health Line at (800) 999-3199.


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SOURCE MidMichigan Health
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