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Partnership Urges Public to

Get Healthy, Save the Earth, Take the Stairs!

Escalators and elevators make our lives a little easier, but at what cost? America is dealing with an obesity epidemic, and inactivity is a contributing factor. Taking the stairs is one way to be more physically active. Choosing the stairs instead of the elevator is a simple way for people to add physical activity to their day in addition to saving on energy costs to run expensive elevators and escalators. This September 3-6 is Take the Stairs Week in West Michigan. We are asking all people who are able, to take the stairs. This practice also allows those who have physical needs access to elevators and ramps.

Graphic designs promoting healthy behavior have been shown to motivate stair users, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) created signage to promote active living in West Michigan. The message in the signage, "Get Healthy, Save the Earth, Take the Stairs!" also points to agreener option, the stairs, over energy consuming elevators.

"Stair posters at the point of decision are environmental design cues that will also reduce carbon footprints," said Joyce Lee, FAIA, LEED AP, founder of Stair Week. "The US Green Building Council has recently taken the lead to introduce a LEED pilot credit called Design for Active Occupants."

National studies promoting physical activity and health say that signs at prominent locations are an effective tool in encouraging people to choose using the stairs over taking the elevators. "The built environment is important in giving people a means to include physical activity into their daily lives," said Ken Kraus, Director of Public Health Muskegon County. "Take the Stairs Week encourages people to make use of what is readily available in the internal environment." Stairs and ramps are equally encouraged in buildings to accommodate people of all abilities - an important element in inclusive design.

"The Take the Stairs campaign is an opportunity for three different County Health Departments to work together," Lisa Stefanovsky, Ottawa County Health Officer, added. "We know we all have the same health challenges and want to promote healthy lifestyles throughout all of West Michigan."

Numerous agencies and organizations are working together to promote Take the Stairs Week:

The American Institute of Architects, Grand Rapids Chapter -

www.aiagr.org

International Interior Design Association, Michigan Chapter -

www.michiganiida.org

U.S. Green Building Council, West Michigan Chapter -

www.usgbcwm.org

Heart of West Michigan United Way -

www.hwmuw.org

Greater Ottawa County United Way

www.ottawaunitedway.org

United Way of the Lakeshore -

www.unitedwaylakeshore.org

Kent County Health Department -

www.accesskent.com/Health

Ottawa County Department of Public Health -

www.miottawa.org/ochd

Muskegon County Public Health -

www.muskegonhealth.net

Kendall College of Art & Design of Ferris State University -

www.kcad.edu

"We applaud the promotion of Take the Stairs Week by all of the organizations involved," said

Adam London, Administrative Health Officer of the Kent County Health Department.

"Sometimes, a gentle reminder can make it easier to select the healthier option. Taking the right

steps duringTake the Stairs Week could lead to people making it a habit that goes well beyondSeptember 6." Free color signs are available to businesses and organizations with escalators or elevators, while supplies last, through the Heart of West Michigan United Way. Funds for the signs were provided by Stair Week partners. Business with fewer than 50 full-time staff members may request up to two signs free of charge. The 8.5" x 11" signs can be mounted on walls near elevator call buttons, in waiting areas, by stair doors and/or other visually prominent locations.

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