Friday, October 14, 2011

Physical activity and nutrition

Dr. Sheila Pinette, Director of Maine CDC, presented Richmond Area Health Center with a certificate of recognition on Oct. 11 for their work as leaders in combating obesity and helping to decrease chronic disease and health care costs in Maine.

Over the past year, 700 patients at the health center have lost weight totaling more than 2 tons (4,000 pounds). The health center's incentive program didn't cost any money, but helped reduce health care costs because many patients were able to cut back or completely eliminate medications for chronic diseases as a result of their weight loss.

Under the direction of Tom Bartol, NP, and the assistance of Healthy Communities of the Capital Area, the health center encouraged patients through a simple system of positive reinforcement. Patients who has lost weight from one appointment to the next would write their names and the amount lost on paper stars posted on the health center wall. After hanging up their stars, patients rang a bell announcing to everyone they has lost weight. Staff would hear the bell and applaud to congratulate them.

Richmond Area Health Center is a practice of the HealthReach Community Health Centers, a system of eleven federally-qualified health centers and two dental practices in central and western Maine.

This announcement comes during National School Lunch Week. This USDA press release explains how more schools are providing healthier meal options for our children. USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion also launched a new website with information for eating healthy on a budget.

For more information about healthy eating, visit Maine CDC’s Physical Activity and Nutrition Program.