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Our mission 

Our Mission is to spread the health (in a colorful way!) We're trying to make it easy and fun for everyone to cultivate healthier habits for life. 

Our mission hasn't changed much since Jen wrote this "message" for our Charter Edition 2004 Streaming Colors Fitness Journal.

"In the health of the people lies the strength of a nation."

- Justus Ohage, M.D., Commissioner of Health, 1899-1907, Saint Paul, Minnesota

I found these inspiring words on a memorial near the entrance to Harriet Island Park, along the banks of the Mississippi River, in Saint Paul, Minnesota. A century ago Dr. Ohage transformed this forty-acre site into a beautiful park with public baths, and donated it to the people of Saint Paul. Today his words are truer than ever, but in ways Dr. Ohage may never have imagined.

The major medical breakthrough just prior to Dr. Ohage's time had been the discovery of germs and the role cleanliness and good hygiene play in disease prevention. Dr. Ohage built public baths because many people during that time didn’t have indoor plumbing. He also wanted to offer people the opportunity to recreate in fresh air and sunshine. The delightful park he built attracted over a million visitors a year.

If you had lived a century ago in Dr. Ohage's time, before the development of antibiotics and vaccinations, the diseases that were likely to kill or disable you would have included pneumonia, diphtheria, typhus, tuberculosis, smallpox and polio – diseases over which you had virtually no control.

Today, those diseases have been all but conquered. Now, over 80% of the diseases that threaten us are associated with our unhealthy modern lifestyles and self-destructive behaviors.

So, while most American households have plenty of modern indoor plumbing, we also have plenty of cars that make it unlikely we'll walk very often or very far. 

We have drive-thru lanes at fast-food chains so that we can get our frequent over-sized servings of high-calorie, high-salt, high-fat foods, with a minimum of effort on our part. 

We ingest more food and expend less physical energy to live than at any time in the last thousands of years of evolution of the human body.

And in the relatively short course of a little over a half century we've spawned an obesity epidemic and shifted the list of things that will kill us (or make our lives miserable) to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. 

Did we plan it? Of course not. Can we legislate it away, or cure it with a simple drug? Sadly, no. Our employers won't pay for it any longer. Our government will only subsidize it so far. 

Our children, compromised by the earlier and earlier onset of obesity-related diseases, are unlikely to be able to handle the trillions of dollars it will exact each year from their generation's economy. And for the first time possibly, the American dream of always doing better for the next generation is in jeopardy.

Are we powerless to change it? No. Absolutely not. The strength of America is in the ability of individuals to rise to the occasion, to do what needs to be done, to adapt, to change. We treasure our freedoms, but also understand that they come with an obligation to each do what we can for the common good.

In the tradition of American volunteerism, you can use this calendar to voluntarily try to improve areas of your fitness and health, to help ease the health crisis in this nation. It's personal, it's your decision what to change and when to change it, and it's nobody's business but your own. But every little thing you do to improve will help.

America also has a great tradition of grassroots activism. This calendar works at a grassroots level to help you challenge the mega corporations whose massive marketing budgets so heavily influence your lifestyle choices. 

Every time you choose a healthy food over an unhealthy food, you exercise the powerful vote of consumer demand. Every lifestyle-related illness you can avoid helps reduce our dependence on costly drugs and diagnostic procedures.

It all starts one person at a time, one day at a time. That's the way I've improved my fitness over the past years. Coloring my calendar with the positive actions I've taken seems so simple, but it has played a powerful role. It is my sincere hope that this calendar will help you, too.

I also hope that as a people we will become lighthearted and optimistic once again. Being healthy and fit makes you a lot happier than being sick or worried about your health. So have fun coloring, and thank you for being part of the Charter Edition of the Streaming Colors Fitness Calendar. 

Jen Luhrs


More on Dr. Ohage's legacy