Praise for the Statewide Health Improvement Program

On Wednesday, March 26, I participated in the annual Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition lobby day at the state Capitol. I want to thank State Senator Scott Dibble for taking time out of his busy schedule to discuss the need to support measures that will increase active living and physical activity among Minnesota’s youth.

I am especially appreciative of Senator Dibble for his willingness to learn more about the need to maintain $35 million in base funding for the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP). SHIP improves health and contains costs by preventing the leading causes of chronic disease: tobacco and obesity. Local control is a cornerstone for SHIP.

Because of SHIP, Minnesotans enjoy greater access to fruits and vegetables, more opportunities for physical activity, and less exposure to secondhand smoke. State funding for these local grants gives communities like ours the chance to “make the healthy choice the easy choice.” Prevention is a tiny percent of current health spending but has a huge return on investment.

The Minnesota Legislature and Governor Dayton should maintain the current base funding for SHIP so communities across Minnesota can continue to benefit from their community partnerships.

Maree Hampton