Metaphorically referred to as “The Battle of The Bulge,” weight gain among American's is considered a health epidemic in parts of the county. Subsequently, weight management trends as a common New Year’s resolutions in our society. Nearly two months into the new year, Veterans enrolled in VA healthcare and who may be struggling with their weight are encouraged to sign up for a structured weight loss program called MOVE!
MOVE! is a national weight management program designed by the VA to assist veterans in weight loss, keep it off, make healthy food choices and improve overall health. Approximately 77% of the veterans the VA serves are categorized as overweight or obese. The link between being overweight or obese and increased risk factors for numerous health complications is clear. Diabetes, heart disease and hypertension are among the diseases that are often preventable, based on lifestyle choices.
For reasons driven by increasing the focus of preventative health and improving overall wellness, the VA National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention began to pilot the MOVE! program in 2004. The program was fully implemented at the Cheyenne VAMC by 2006.
VA believes that supporting preventative health and improving overall wellness is important to maintain and enhance an individual's lifesytle. Emily Smith, Weight Management Program Coordinator at the Cheyenne VAMC says, “VA’s MOVE! program is not just a diet program. Rather, we focus on establishing a healthy lifestyle that can be maintained over the long term. ” Smith adds that the MOVE! program helps overweight and obese veterans lose weight by providing a structured program that emphasizes education about nutrition, physical activity and behavior change.
Kristi Ruben, Cheyenne VAMC Recreation Therapist also provides information to Veterans during the eight week MOVE! program. Ruben says, “the idea is not to lecture, but to encourage and engage each Veteran in the program to take an active role in their lifestyle choices. We want the participants to learn about the benefits of physical activities and find ways to incorporate these activities or exercises into their daily lives.”
In 2011, 153 Veterans completed the Cheyenne VAMC's MOVE! Program. These Veterans succeeded in losing a combined, total weight loss of 805 pounds.
There are two ways to participate in the MOVE! program. Eight week series of group classes are taught in Cheyenne, Fort Collins, Greeley and Rawlins. Group classes offer an interdisciplinary approach with classes taught by professionals in the fields of nutrition, physical and recreation therapy as well as mental health. The second option is to participate in teleMOVE! from home with a home messaging device called a Health Buddy. With teleMOVE!, a registered dietitian will monitor your progress, set individualized goals with you and provide support over the phone.
For more information or to sign up with either the traditional class format or technological option, contact Emily Smith, M.S., R.D. at (970)590-1148 .
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