According to the Centers for Disease Control, our nation spends 147 billion dollars in medical related costs associated with obesity. Obesity has been known to be linked to conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of death.
Weight reduction significantly reduces the chance of a person developing cancer of the esophagus, colon, breast, uterus and other organs. Losing modest amounts of weight-just 10% of your starting weight can lower your risk of cancer and provide other health benefits.
Some tips to help manage your weight and improve your overall health include having your body fat measured and talking to your healthcare provider about specific calorie goals. At home you can: change your eating habits, do not eat when you are distracted, take 20-30 minutes to eat and simply remove tempting unhealthy foods from your environment. Choose vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products, keep a food journal to track your daily eating (to help you eat the appropriate portion sizes) and increase your physical activity. Adults should engage in 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity, above usual activities on 5 or more days of the week.
Lancaster General Health recognizes that there needs to be a multifaceted approach to obesity prevention. We have created group and individual programs to address healthy weight management across the lifespan. We also offer simple solutions learning how to eat healthier including dietician lead grocery store tours and free healthy cookbooks. Beyond programs aimed at the individual we understand that the environment needs to be one that helps an individual make the healthy choice the easy choice.
In partnership with Lancaster General Health, the Lighten Up Lancaster County Coalition (LULC) was formed in 2007 with the goal of increasing the percentage of adults and children maintaining a healthy weight in Lancaster County.
(Pictured right: State Representative Mike Sturla and Lighten Up Lancaster County Coalition, in partnership with Lancaster General Health, challenged children at summer playgrounds and day camps to stay healthy and fit by eating right and being active. Children went on walks and played games with Representative Sturla every week and learned why it’s important to maintain a healthy weight.)
LULC is a group of concerned individuals with representation from all facets of the community including: stay-at-home parents, students, schools, healthcare, local government officials, food service employees, recreation/fitness and private businesses.
The Coalition is designed to prevent obesity where we live, work and play through policy, system and environmental change. Members work to raise awareness of the epidemic, advocate for policy change and educate our community with the goal of creating behavior change.
Some examples of our current initiatives are: working to increase the bikeability of Lancaster City, engaging employers to improve the health of their employees by implementing simple policies like healthy vending, working with schools and the community to increase gardens and serving as a resource to school wellness councils.
For more information about LG Health has to offer visit www.lghealth.org or call 1-888-LGH-INFO. To view Lighten Up Lancaster’s strategic plan and other information please check out our website at www.LightenUpLancaster.org or call 717-544-3878.
Beth Koser Schwartz, RN, MSN (c)
Lancaster General Health
Beth Koser Schwartz, RN, MSN (c) is the Healthy Weight Management Coordinator for Lancaster General Health. She is the Facilitator of the Lighten Up Lancaster County Coalition, a community coalition whose mission is to increase the number of Lancaster County residents maintaining a healthy weight. She is passionate about helping the county and individuals make the healthy choice the easy choice. She is a nurse by profession and is currently completing a Master’s in Public Health Nursing Education at West Chester University. She can be contacted with any questions at