Q&A with Jennifer Like: County wellness program marks 10th year of no-cost weight loss

OKLAHOMA CITY – County wellness program marks 10th year of no-cost weight loss

Q: How many Oklahoma County residents are overweight, and how is the county’s Total Wellness program helping?

A: The most recent data shows that 30 percent of Oklahoma County residents are obese and around 60 percent are overweight or obese. This is a concern because people who are overweight or obese are more likely to have chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. The 2017 Wellness Score shows a 5.1 percent decrease in Cardiovascular Disease Mortality compared to the 2014 Wellness Score. The Oklahoma City-County Health Department is working to reduce the risk of these chronic diseases through programs like Total Wellness.

Q: Registered dietitians are available throughout the program. What are their qualifications?

A: Registered dietitians are considered food and nutrition experts. They have earned a degree in nutrition, completed an intensive supervised practice program and passed a national examination. These dietitians are available to meet with class participants during the program and help meet their individual needs.

Q: How do the Total Wellness classes work?

A: The Total Wellness classes are free and meet for one hour a week for eight weeks. Each week covers a different topic related to nutrition, physical activity or behavior change. Most people know they should eat healthier and exercise more; this class helps walk participants through how to actually make those changes in their lives.

Q: Are there some examples of success?

A: Graduates leave the program having changed their lives in some way. Some of our greatest success stories are when people continue to come back and take the program for several sessions. Quite a few people have lost more than 50 pounds over a year with us. Coming to class each week holds them accountable to keep making healthy changes.

Q: How many residents have participated in classes and how many pounds have been lost in the past decade?

A: The Total Wellness program originally began in 2007 as a Diabetes Prevention and Outreach Program. We have made many changes over the years, but continue to see great success. Since 2007 we have had more than 7,000 people come through our program and lose more than 24,000 pounds.

Q: How can interested persons enroll in Total Wellness classes?

A: Total Wellness classes are offered four times a year with day and evening classes across greater Oklahoma City. Reservations are required and spaces are limited. For information about class times, locations and to get signed up, call 405-425-4422, email [email protected] or visit occhd.org/lose.

PAULA BURKES, BUSINESS WRITER

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