Community members packed the Boone Memorial Hospital dining hall yesterday to learn more about the hospital's new weight loss and diabetes prevention program.
"I knew the need was great but I was amazed at the turnout," said Nurse Practitioner Kathy Hill, who will teach the upcoming classes in the program. "We originally planned to hold one informational seminar in the evening but we received so many inquiries I decided to add on 3 additional sessions. We had 81 total in the first three and over 100 in the 6'clock evening session. When I add on physician referrals I received in my office we are well over 200 people."
Hill wrote a $20,000 grant, which will help fund the program.
"Thanks to the grant funding, there is no charge to participants this year," said Hill.
This is a year-long program and has been researched and certified by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control). Participants must be 18 years of age or older to qualify and are expected to attend weekly meetings each Thursday, which will be offered several times throughout the day, including morning, afternoon and evening.
Classes last approximately one hour and will include education and resources regarding nutrition, stress reduction, healthy living and diabetes prevention. More specifically; how to eat healthy without giving up foods you love and how to make better choices when eating out. Participants will also learn how to overcome barriers, how to add physical activity to your life even if you think you don't have time and how to stay motivated.
Weigh-ins will be held weekly, which are optional and private.
The BMH Fitness Center will be open to all program participants free of charge (extended & weekend hours will be available and announced at a later date).
"Our hospital Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation, Matt Downey, will meet with active participants of the Weight Loss & Diabetes Program to teach them how properly use the exercise equipment and to provide exercise tips and strategies to use along their weight loss journey," explained Hill.
Downey is an exercise physiologist with a masters of science degree in cardiac rehabilitation and adult fitness.
In order to qualify for the program participants were expected to either complete a short screening tool or get a referral from their physician.
"I am so excited that so many are ready to change their lifestyle to better their health," said Hill. "Most classes will take place in the Boone Memorial Hospital Private Dining Hall. However, due to the overwhelming amount of interest we may hold some classes off-site as well."
Classes are filled at this time. Those who attended one of the four informational sessions and met health qualifications on the screening tool or received a physician referral by Feb. 8th have been accepted into the program.
"We don't want to turn anyone away," said Hill. "We are trying to develop new classes to allow for more participants and ask those still interested to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will put you on our class waiting list for now."
Class participants' ages range from 18-90. Hill explained that the classes will be laid back and interactive, allowing participants to share successes, challenges and resources creating a true support system.
Hill expressed her passion and desire to help people and for them to actually feel the benefits.
"I am honored to start this journey with everyone. I'm also anxious to see our results after learning and practicing our new habits. Let's do this, Boone County!"