Cary Savage, LPN, who works at the Cross Plains Clinic, helped participants with weigh-ins and personal motivation.
“Dr. Jarzemsky had seen how hard I was working, and thought I would be a great motivational speaker for those who struggle with same problem that I did,” she noted.
Ten weeks later, success was measurable. According to Busch, the 24 participants who completed the 10-week program lost a total of 354 pounds and 113 inches of waist circumference, and many reported a better quality of life.
She said one couple walked 5 to 6 miles per day and together lost 108.5 pounds and 17 inches. In addition to both of them having more energy, the husband has been able to stop one diabetes medication and by June hopes to stop the other.
“Wow! Thanks so much for encouraging and educating us throughout this program!” said another participant. “The balancing of factual information and personal interaction created a great learning environment. You have made a positive difference in our lives.”
This summer, the team is debuting “Empower Challenge,” a program that promotes healthy lifestyles for adolescents in sixth through eighth grade. In addition to nutrition and physical activity, it focuses on issues such as self-esteem, peer pressure and positive self-help strategies.
The team also plans to introduce an employee version of Empower next year.
Better Eating Through Gardening
The second program, the Garden Initiative, promotes home and community gardening so that more people have access to healthy foods.
It kicked off in April, when community members turned out for a free gardening seminar led by local experts. Home gardeners also received free packets of lettuce and cucumber seeds when they signed up for the LIFE Foundation’s e-newsletter.
In addition, the team created a 30-plot community garden co-op in a local park, complete with a water pump and a wooden shed to house tools and equipment shared by co-op members.