January 25, 2002

Lose weight, change lifestyle at VUMC

Featured Image

Jacqueline Reasoner and her daughter Darcie, VMS II, and a group of other parents look at organs with Dr. Alice Clark Coogan, associate professor of Pathology, at the organ recital during Parent's Weekend. (photo by Anne Rayner Pollo)

Lose weight, change lifestyle at VUMC

It all sounds simple enough.

Walk for 20 minutes. Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables.

Half the battle of beginning a fitness routine and eating right is getting started. And Vanderbilt is ready for the challenge with the creation of a new program—Count on Your Health. Slated to begin in February, the program will offer employees support in making a healthier lifestyle change.

In a state that has the highest incidences of heart attack and stroke, making heart healthy choices needs to be a top priority, said Dr. Douglas E. Vaughan, C. Sidney Burwell Professor of Medicine and chief, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine.

“This is a piece of a larger initiative that I hope we can catalyze here at Vanderbilt to increase awareness of cardiovascular risks,” he said. “We have got to change the trend of being the worst in the nation. We can start that by getting our own house in order.”

Faculty and staff will receive free health risk appraisals in February, including a questionnaire, blood pressure, cholesterol, body fat measurements and a personalized health report. These numbers will serve as a guide for employees wanting to learn more about ways to manage their health through the educational sessions and fitness programs that will be offered in March.

Since 1991, nearly 16,000 Vanderbilt faculty and staff have completed health risk appraisals through the Health Plus program. After completing follow-up health risk appraisals, most faculty and staff acted on recommendations and improved their health in some if not all areas.

The first 500 to complete the health risk appraisals will receive a Count on Your Health T-shirt. Participants will receive a calendar at the mobile stations or through the Health Plus Web site to track healthy behaviors. The program aims to turn random attempts of exercise and making healthy food choices into habits. As an added incentive, employees returning the calendars at the end of the program will be eligible for a prize.

Beginning in March, the Courtyard Café premieres a new menu logo called “Nutritious Dishes.” On Thursdays “Healthy Bites,” a tasting bar in the seating area of the café, will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Dianne Killebrew, M.Ed., educational coordinator with the Dietetic Internship program said February is national heart month—a perfect time to learn your cardiac risk factors and March is national nutrition month—the time to start making healthy food and exercise choices.

“Count on Your Health is a customized program for the Vanderbilt community,” she said. “VUMC partners with expertise in heart, nutrition and fitness have joined efforts to bring the national campaigns to the Vanderbilt campus.”

The 31-day program is sponsored by HEALTH Plus, Vanderbilt Heart, the Department of Nutrition Services, Occupational Health Services and Kim Dayani Center.

“Vanderbilt is in the business of care giving,” said Marilyn Holmes, manager of Health Plus. “Faculty and staff actively taking care of their own health are better role models and are physically able to provide better care to others.”

Dr. Melanie Swift, medical director of the Occupational Health Clinic, said Count on Your Health fits well in Vanderbilt’s culture of seeking wellness for the community.

“Nothing is more important for an institution’s success than the health of its workers,” Swift said.

Sessions begin in February

During February, Health Plus’ mobile health risk appraisal stations will be operating throughout campus. The following is a schedule:

•Feb. 6: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Kim Dayani Center

•Feb. 8: 9-11 a.m., Vanderbilt Page-Campbell Heart Institute 2201B

•Feb. 12: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at School of Nursing

•Feb. 13: 9-11 a.m., Patient Accounting, 2135 Blakemore

•Feb. 14: 9-11 a.m. Marketing, Oxford House, 4th floor

•Feb. 15: 10 a.m.-noon, 321 Kirkland Hall

•Feb. 18: 6:30-8:30 p.m., TVC, rooms 2702, 2703

•Feb. 20: 10 a.m.-noon, TVC, rooms 2702, 2703

•Feb. 20: 1-3 p.m. Belcourt Child Care

In March Lunch and Learn sessions will be held on Wednesdays from 11:30 to noon in TVC 2701-2702. Call 3-8943 for reservations. Participants are asked to bring their lunch and a healthy fruit or vegetable salad will be provided. Dates and topics are:

•Mar. 6: “The Skinny on Fat,” Amy Cranford, registered dietitian, Dayani Center

•Mar. 13: “Just Move,” Liza Green, certified personal trainer, Health Plus

•Mar. 20: “Fiber … A Friend of the Heart,” Amy Cranford

•Mar. 27: “Overcoming Obstacles to Being Active,” Liza Green

For more information call 3-8943 or visit the Health Plus Web site at www.vanderbilt.edu/HRS/wellness/healthplus.