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Website helps families shape up their health

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Shape Up North is a website that promotes healthy eating and an active lifestyle. The website creators' goal is to target families around the northern Michigan region.

For Jennifer Lyon, health and wellness is her specialty. Lyon is a family medicine doctor through Munson Medical Center but her passion is her family.

"My whole lifestyle changed when I had kids. I wanted to show them how to live right from the get-go," says Lyon.

Lyon says she and her husband made a commitment to only have healthy food in their house and to keep their kids living an active lifestyle. It's this philosophy that's surrounding a website called Shape Up North. Community leaders including educators, Munson Healthcare professionals and other healthcare workers have come together to make the site possible.

"Shape Up North is an organization formed with one key principal to get people to start where they are. We want you to start where you are geographically," says Lyon.

Lyon is on the provider steering committee for Shape Up North which launched in 2014. She says one of the site's goals is prevention and going back to the basics.

"The medical community hasn't been that great at tackling obesity and diabetes. We have our medicines but our food and activity levels need to be the root treatments for these conditions," says Lyon.

She says starting with kids is key.

"One of our things with shape up north is ideas for schools, grants are available for school participation and how Munson and Priority Health are coming alongside schools to help them because starting with kids that's where you get changes in the house," says Lyon.

Lyon says Shape Up North is not only user-friendly but helps people find activities that interest them.

"You can type in key words. So, if you want to go hiking you can type in hiking and will give you a list of locations. A lot of people think they need a gym membership. Keep it simple. Hop on a bike or trail," says Lyon.

Besides keeping it simple, Lyon says the purpose is to educate people of all ages on making a lifetime shift in their health.

"I can't think of anyone this website wouldn't be helpful for. It really touches on the nutrition, school impact and activity finder that's helpful for everyone. I think the key is starting from the beginning. If your kids think this is the norm, then it is the norm," says Lyon.

For a direct link to Shape Up North click here.

CLICK HERE for Munson Medical Center's Facebook page and HERE for their twitter.

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