Street Talk; What’s it take to achieve a healthier state?
Posted on Dec. 6, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Dec. 6, 2013 at 5:11 p.m.

Correspondent Mark Shephard visited Middlebury this week and asked, “Indiana is rated as the 41st most healthy state, and Gov. Mike Pence and Republican leaders understand they need to identify solutions so as to balance the cost of a healthier population with the economic benefits it would bring. What purposeful measures could Indiana Republicans and the 6.5 million Hoosiers take to help achieve a healthier state?”

Lizzie Mast, small business secretary, Bristol:

“I think more people could work. Go find jobs, and then they’d have more money to live a healthier life. Buy food that’s healthy, and not (eat) junk food. Cook and be able to have food that is healthy. The fast food ruins our bodies, I think.”

Brett Hart, auto mechanic, Shipshewana:

“It’s up to the individual to realize that their diet and their health is actually unhealthy. They need to realize that they need to lead a better lifestyle as far as health and fitness, and so on.” Follow-up question: What do we do about the young innocent victims? “That’s up to the parents. I think the parents have the obligation to keep their kids healthy. I don’t think it’s up to the state. The state can’t be responsible for everybody. Even if they are low-income families, I don’t think the state should be responsible for everybody.”

Jared Clemens, janitor, Elkhart:

“A lot of the people don’t avail themselves to some of the programs that are available, like school lunch programs and such.” Follow-up question: Do you think if Hoosiers knew that they were the 41st healthiest state that they would be concerned about that? “Yeah, I think it would behoove some people to get off their butts. Maybe put more of the budget into health courses at all levels — a basic one for the elementary students, a little bit more comprehensive for the middle-schoolers, and something as complicated as you can get for the high-schoolers — start young so that it will move into their later lives.”

Diane Martin, greeter, Middlebury:

“Well, making it (health care) more available to people, because I know a lot of people don’t have money right now, and a lot of people don’t have health care, so they’re trying to make it more available — but with the website not working very good for the government, I don’t know. My daughters don’t have health insurance, so I know they’re worried about it. They’re in college and they’re trying to figure out if they can afford to go to school and have health care because they don’t have jobs right now. They have to take out big loans, so they’re using their money.” Follow-up: Two of the main issues that are on Gov. Pence’s mind right now are infant mortality and childhood poverty. What can Indiana Republican leaders do to help address these issues? “When my daughters were born I had WIC (Women, Infants & Children). The WIC program was really helpful. I had both of my daughters early. They came out to my house and visited. So maybe it would be good, if they could do that again.”

Heather Otto, Northridge High School senior, Middlebury:

“Maybe letting people know that we are the 41st-ranked state on the list, because I didn’t even know that. If you would get high school students involved with that, and starting young, and knowing how to be healthy, and teaching them how to take better measures to have healthier lives — and informing the public more — I think would be a definite measure so we could all work together to move up the list and be one of the healthier states.” Follow-up question: Do they have preventive-type programs at the high school? “We have physical education courses like healthy choices and changes in health class. I think providing the means to get help when ever people have problems — making it easier and not such a lengthy process — would be helpful, too. And making it easier to get the health care services that we need that are affordable for people that don’t have money.”

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