Bay Pines VA Healthcare System recognizes the long-term effects obesity can have, which affects more than 40 percent of the American population, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
There are multiple programs across the healthcare system to assist Veterans combat obesity through weight management.
“We offer one on one dietitian services at every Primary Care Aligned Care Team (PACT),” said Bay Pines VA Healthcare System Dietitian Sadie Baird. “This approach gives the Veteran a more customizable goal for weight management. In addition to that, we also have our MOVE! Weight Management Program.”
The MOVE! Weight Management Program assists Veterans with achieving meaningful weight loss to help improve their health and reduce their risk for chronic health conditions. It features a comprehensive lifestyle intervention that helps support changes to their eating habits, an increase in physical activity, and goal setting.
“MOVE has two programs, the first one is a 16-week program that is dietitian led and they meet once a week for about an hour with a group of Veterans,” said Baird. “The discussions go beyond telling people what to eat and instead, addresses the barriers to meeting their goals while also setting goals that are realistic to the Veteran.”
Baird continued, “The second one is a TeleMove! Program which is facilitated at the Veteran’s own pace. They work one-on-one with a TeleMOVE! coach. The Veterans are asked to weigh themselves every day and answer a series of questions to gauge participation.”
Maintaining a healthy weight could help Veterans feel better and have more energy. It could also help prevent or mange chronic diseases and conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, heart disease, gallbladder disease, arthritis, sleep apnea and some types of cancer.
“There are lots of benefits to getting your weight down,” said Baird. “A big driver for many Veterans is that they are frustrated with the number of medications that they have to take, and it is not uncommon when it comes to weight loss to see some of those medications reduced or removed all together.”
Scheduling an appointment with a dietitian is easy at Bay Pines VA.
“All of our appointments are self-scheduled,” said Baird. “All you have to do is call your local VA clinic and tell them that you would like to schedule an appointment with nutrition or dietitian. If the Veteran does not want to do that, they can always talk to their Primary Care doctor for a referral.”