Photo: Valerie Everett (Flickr)
The statewide health program, INShape Indiana was one of Mitch Daniels’ first initiatives as governor. With his time in office drawing to a close, the governor wants to make sure it continues.
INShape Indiana encourages healthier eating, physical fitness and an end to smoking. Daniels says of all the changes he’s implemented in his time as governor, none has been less controversial, or more difficult.
“You’re talking about getting people – young or not young – to change deeply ingrained habits and practices,” he says.
But Daniels says the state has made progress: the state health department shows that smoking has gone down nearly 20 percent in the past eight years and the rate of obesity has, at worst, begun to level off. And he says he hopes the program remains a priority, regardless of which party controls the Statehouse.
“I don’t think I’ve run into anybody who thinks it’s a bad idea to try to be a healthier state, especially to have our young people be healthier. So I hope that whatever administration comes next will want to push on and get things done that we couldn’t.”
INShape Indiana is now its own department within the Department of Health. Daniels says that formalized arrangement should help maintain the program’s momentum.