Consumer Driven Health Care

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Huckabee New Head of National Governors

By MIKE GLOVER, Associated Press Writer Mon Jul 18, 4:51 PM ET

DES MOINES, Iowa - Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee became chairman of the National Governors Association on Monday, starting a health initiative with roots in his own weight problem.

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During his one-year term, Huckabee, a Republican, will focus on preventive health efforts such as combatting obesity, boosting exercise and reducing smoking.

"We want to focus on the entire culture," said Huckabee, who holds himself out as an example. He has lost 110 pounds in the last two years after being diagnosed with diabetes.

Huckabee said scientific advances over the past 200 years have led to longer life expectancies for Americans, but poor health habits are threatening that trend.

"The facts are simple: More than a quarter of all American adults are physically inactive and 65 percent are overweight," Huckabee said. "We must change this dangerous trend, otherwise our unhealthy lifestyle will doom an entire generation of young people."

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, was named vice chairwoman of the association. She will head a task force named by Huckabee to recommend steps that can be taken to promote healthier lifestyles.

Other members include Govs.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Arnold Schwarzenegger, of California; Tom Vilsack, of Iowa; Mark Sanford, of South Carolina; and Phil Bredesen, of Tennessee.

During the year, Huckabee said he would convene workshops across the country, urge governors to implement health programs for state workers and review health programs like Medicaid to build in lifestyle issues.

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