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Secretary of Health 'Walks the Walk' to Kick Off National Public Health Week
Date:4/6/2009

A 'Biggest Loser' Finalist from the Lehigh Valley Lends Support

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Department of Health Secretary Everette James today kicked off National Public Health Week by leading a lunchtime fitness walk around the Capitol complex to bring awareness to the need for all Pennsylvanians to take control of their own health.

"As the state agency with the mission to promote healthy lifestyles, we realize that we cannot just talk about the health of Pennsylvania without leading by example," said Secretary James. "Research shows that walking is a great way to improve health. It not only decreases anxiety and stress, but also lowers bad cholesterol and strengthens your immune system. Walking not only has powerful health benefits but is also an accessible activity. I encourage all Pennsylvanians to take control of their health, one step at a time."

Secretary James was joined by members of Governor Rendell's cabinet, members of the General Assembly, department staff, community and stakeholder groups, as well as Kelly Minner, a finalist on season one of NBC's "The Biggest Loser." Ms. Minner has lost more than 100 pounds since the start of the show. Along with dropping weight, Ms. Minner shed several health issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and irritable bowel syndrome.

"Kelly sets a great example as someone who took control of her health in a dramatic way," added James. "She has taken the often difficult steps to make lifestyle changes and works to help others get on the right path to living healthier lives. As a teacher and a role model, she is leading by example."

Ms. Minner is a teacher at the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for Performing Arts and has developed a program called "The Biggest Winner." The program teaches faculty, staff and students about the benefits of becoming more health conscious and encourages them to lose weight and incorporate healthy behaviors into their lives.

National Public Health Week runs April 6-12. This year's theme is "Building the Foundation for a Healthy America." For more than a decade, this weekly designation has been celebrated across the nation as an effort to help protect and improve our nation's overall health.

For more information on National Public Health Week in Pennsylvania, visit www.nphw.org. To learn more about the Department of Health, visit www.health.state.pa.us.

    CONTACT:
    Stacy Kriedeman
    (717) 787-1783


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
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