Meet a Health Hero: Sue Daugherty

Read more about MANNA executive director Sue Daugherty, a semi-finalist in our 2013 Health Hero Challenge!

>> You can vote for Sue on our Facebook page September 10-16. Mark your calendar!

Name: Sue Daugherty

Occupation: Executive director of Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA)

Who or what motivates you to be healthy?
Life motivates me. In the grand scheme of things we have such a small amount of time—there are so many memories to create, people to meet, places to visit, opportunities to do good and folks to love. I truly believe if you have your health you have everything—good health is a gift every day. Unfortunately in my line of work I see folks fighting for their health, battling serious illness, and it makes me so very aware of what it takes to fight back from a crippling disease. I will never take my health for granted!

Describe a health or fitness related turning point in your life.
I was an overweight teenager. In high school I hated my body and lost weight in an unhealthy way. Although I was the thinnest I’d ever been, I felt horrible and had no energy. In college I started to study nutrition and decided to become a registered dietitian. It’s at that point I discovered healthL the importance of a balanced diet along with physical activity. It’s not about restricting foods or crazy workout regimens; it’s about balance and recognizing that we all have the power to start somewhere.

What “policy” would you institute to make Greater Philadelphia a healthier region?
I really can’t believe that this is not the case, but every school should have a mandate of 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Studies show kids perform better academically with physical activity. Also, if children get accustomed to being active early in life, it will more likely become a lifelong habit.

What’s the most important part of your health or fitness regimen?
Working out. I try to start each day (well five days a week) waking up at 5 a.m. to get my workout in before the work day.

What is your number one piece of health related advice?
Just this: If you have your health you have everything. So never, never take your health for granted. Good health is the ultimate economic equalizer! No amount of money could ever substitute for wellbeing, so enjoy every day and find the balance to live a healthy life.