‘Spring Into Health’ initiative helping uninsured patients to fight obesity
by DELANEY WALKER Banner Staff Writer
May 25, 2014 | 671 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Banner photo, DELANEY WALKER
THE BRADLEY COUNTY Health Department recently began a new initiative to help uninsured patients learn better health habits. The six-week Spring Into Health program recently graduated its first class.
Banner photo, DELANEY WALKER THE BRADLEY COUNTY Health Department recently began a new initiative to help uninsured patients learn better health habits. The six-week Spring Into Health program recently graduated its first class.
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A program at the Bradley County Health Department called Spring Into Health helps uninsured patients battle against obesity with healthy lifestyle suggestions, nutrition tips and support.

The first class recently finished the six-week program with 11 participants.

Nurse practitioner and program coordinator Elizabeth Pope said the number of patients diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes continues to increase.

“Obesity is a big problem. We see them come in, and they need help, and we have nowhere to refer them,” she said. “We have nowhere to send these folks, so we decided to come up with something ourselves.” 

Members of the program struggle with obesity for a variety of reasons. Primary care physician Michael Daubner explained a poor diet, substance abuse, lack of exercise and unhealthy lifestyle decisions can all contribute to health issues. The program fights back with information to combat the deadly quartet of obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia and hyperglycemia.

Participant Brandi Mason joined the program after she was diagnosed with a thyroid condition and insulin resistance. She said she knew it was time to make a change.

“I have three small children, and it was important for me to teach them how to be healthy,” Mason explained. “I wanted to have more energy to be able to play with them.”

Spring Into Health seemed like the perfect vessel to help her become a better mother and person in general.

Every participant calculates their base metabolic rate at the beginning of the program. They are encouraged to exercise 30 minutes a day, five days a week at a minimum.

Added Daubner, “A lot of people are aghast when we tell them that.”

He explained weight loss is not merely the product of exercise. The predominant component to shedding pounds is a dietary intervention.

Registered dietician Amy Davenport outlines the basics of healthy meal planning. A nutrition focus is built into almost every topic. She explained a discussion on diabetes will include tips on carb consumption. Likewise, a discussion on heart disease will include a look at fats and cholesterol.

“What we shoot for is [losing] one to two pounds a week, and we try to do this in a healthy way,” Daubner said. “A lot of these fad diets out there, these liquid diets or ultra-low calories diets aren’t effective long-term. We told them the first day, this is the first day of the rest of their lives.”

Continued Daubner, “This is a journey we are starting them on. We are going to work with them. We are trying to impart good, healthy lifestyle changes for the rest of their lives.”

Mason said she has been more active since she joined the six-week program. She walks the Greenway and engages in more outside activities with her kids.

It was always important for her kids to participate in exercise.

“I wanted them to be active, without thinking, ‘I need to be active,’” she said. “Instead of sitting on the sidelines or the bleachers watching them, I can get up and play with them. It is one of those things where over time we get in our comfort zone of being lazy.”

She was proud to report her involvement in the recent Great Strides Walk for Cystic Fibrosis and 65 Roses 5K hosted by Lee University.

Health Department director Eloise Waters explained the class is currently open to uninsured patients but may soon expand to the general public.

More information on how to start “your pathway to better health” can be found by calling 728-7020.