Healthy Living Initiative

Healthy Living for Washtenaw County's women and children means a healthy future for us all!

The Junior League of Ann Arbor  is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving our community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.

The JLAA's current focus is Healthy Living with the goal of decreasing hunger and increasing the quality of life and the lifespan of the most vulnerable women and children. Hunger, obesity, heart disease, poor nutrition, barriers to and a lack of education about the acquisition of food are some of the key health issues plaguing the people of Washtenaw County.

Prior to adopting this initiative, the JLAA completed extensive research into the issues and difficulties experienced by our neighbors as they strive to access healthy, nutritional food. We drew upon data from the United Way of Washtenaw County's annual report, the Michigan Department of Education, the Health Improvement survey (HIP), the Michigan Department of Community Health, and many more. 

The JLAA incorporates Healthy Living into all facets of our organization and our long-term Strategic Plan. We are also continually researching community partners to whom we can lend our volunteer efforts as well as sponsors willing to support our mission to decrease hunger and improve the health of Washtenaw County's women and children.

Family Hunger at Home:
The number of Washtenaw County households making less than $10,000 a year grew by 13% in the past decade, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released in December 2010. Area social-service agencies are so overwhelmed with requests for food assistance, they can't keep up with the demand: An estimated 6,900 people receive emergency food assistance each week from a Food Gatherers network location in Washtenaw County, a 73% increase from 2006.

Children's Health:
In 2006, 17% of American children were considered obese -- and one in three children born in 2000 is expected to develop Type 2 diabetes if statistical trends continue. Despite the need for children to increase their physical activity, Michigan schools are decreasing the time spent on physical activity and health education because of budget cuts and a need to improve educational results. The importance of nutritious school lunches is also heightened by the fact 52% of Washtenaw County school-age children receive free or reduced-price lunches because of shortcomings in their families' incomes.

Women's Health:
Southeastern Michigan's unemployment rate has risen from 5% to 8% since 2008, which has added stress to families with members who are out of work, underemployed or simply working harder at their jobs. Almost a fifth (19%) of women who live in Washtenaw County have high blood pressure, indicative of why poor cardiac health is the No. 1 killer of women nationwide. Half of our county's residents are overweight and only 45% of area adult residents say they engage in moderate physical activity 30 minutes or more 5-7 days a week.

How You Can Help the Junior League of Ann Arbor
Our organization is always looking for new members, potential partners, sponsors and donations. For more information on any of these opportunities, or for more information on our Healthy Living initiative, please contact us online or call (734) 985-0429 to leave a message.