With the growing obesity epidemic leading to more chronic disease and pushing up health-care costs across the country, a new strategy is emerging among some providers. At Family HealthCare in Fargo, registered dietitian Venessa Berg says patients can come in for a doctor visit, or they can stop by to get a workout.
|"We have a fitness center on site and we have five AmeriCorps volunteers that are trained as health coaches, so they work individually one-on-one with patients to develop a goal and to work on their fitness."|
New research says that about 10-percent of the growth in health spending over the past quarter-century was due to the increasing number of Americans packing on the pounds. In North Dakota, nearly two-in-three people are overweight or obese.
Since getting healthy includes both physical exercise and health eating, Berg says they’re also moving forward with a demonstration kitchen to help educate their patients, many of them poor or new to this country.
|"We have plans to do new-American classes, just kind of how to cook healthy, basic kind of stuff. And then we’ve also talked with a local chef about doing some cooking classes (focused on) healthy substitutes and that sort of thing that anyone could do, and you don’t have to spend extra money or go to culinary school."|
The efforts by Family HealthCare also include a number of partnerships with community organizations, including the Y-M-C-A, which has options to help defray the cost of membership for low-income families.
|"A lot of the people that we serve have never seen a treadmill before, for example. So walking into a gym is a lot to ask of a person. So our coaches will escort them to the gym, show them how to use a machine, maybe introduce them to some staff there and then help them fill out the scholarship form so they can become YMCA members."|