Oregon Healthiest State Aims to Make Healthier Choices Easier

OR Healthiest State Summit 2015
November 11, 2015

This year’s Oregon Healthiest State Summit on Nov. 10 began fittingly with a healthy activity: group yoga. More than 200 business and community leaders stretched their arms, shoulders and backs, before diving into a daylong discussion on how to improve the health and wellbeing of all Oregonians.

The yoga warmup was symbolic of the group’s bigger ambitions; as event moderator and community activist Mike Alexander noted, every journey starts with a single step.

“Oregon Healthiest State is a movement that brings us together to ignite transformational change, address the most pressing issues and create healthy options and solutions for our communities,” said Peggy Maguire, Senior Vice President at Cambia Health Solutions and President of the Cambia Health Foundation.

OHSU President Dr. Joe Robertson shared a report on the state of Oregon’s health, which illustrated that aspirations do not yet match reality. The report found, among other things, 17% of Oregonians smoke, 1 in 4 are obese, and alcohol and drug abuse are rampant. To counteract these behaviors, Robertson pointed to the strategies defined by Oregon Healthiest State which together with private and public partners can help: improve the health of all Oregonians, increase health equity and ultimately help us become the healthiest state in the nation.

Cambia Health Foundation is one of the supporters of Oregon Healthiest State, a partnership that invites businesses, nonprofits, public agencies and communities to commit to working collectively to make Oregon a state where every person can be healthy.

The second annual summit included a keynote address by Dan Buettner, who created Blue Zones Projects after studying healthy communities around the world, and breakout sessions to address how to remove the barriers for healthier choices.

“No one institution can do this alone, it’s a collective challenge that requires collective solutions.” OHSU’s Robertson said. “Research shows that people are healthier in communities that support them.”

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