Did you know that over 1 in 3 American adults is overweight? Or that 17% of children aged 2-19 are obese?
Did you also know that obesity related conditions (heart disease, stroke, some cancers) are some of the most preventable leading causes of death? Or that in 2008, medical costs for people with obesity were $1,429 higher than normal weight individuals?*
While the media has done a great job publicizing the obesity epidemic; unfortunately the number of Americans with obesity continues to climb upward and more and more children and adults are becoming overweight. The question becomes, what can we do about it?
One program that is currently underway is the Healthy Initiative, a project geared to fight against the obesity epidemic currently underway in our country. The program is starting in Chicago and is partnering with local organizations, city government, doctors, and other wellness providers to raise awareness about childhood and adult obesity. They are also implementing local programs to change the current trend.
So why am I telling you about the Healthy Initiative? If you’ve read my About Me page, you know that I was a a little overweight as a teenager. Too many snacks when I wasn’t hungry, not enough exercise (although I was active), and the SAD really put some pounds on my 5’3 frame. I did lose the weight before college but it wasn’t easy. After months of feeling down and trying numerous “fad diets” I asked my mom for help. She suggested joining Medical Weight Loss.
While I don’t know that I now agree with 100% of what I was taught at the Medical Weight Loss clinic (emphasis on losing weight, no thought of future implications), the program worked for me because I was held accountable and felt like I was part of a team. Every week when I’d go in for my weigh-in, I’d see the same smiling faces that I saw the week before. They seemed vested in my weight-loss and encouraged me throughout the entire process. I don’t know that I could have lost the weight without them.
The Healthy Initiative is kicking off their program with a new, improved, and dare I say, better version of Medical Weight Loss. The program seeks to transform the lives of a group of participants through the SheaNetics inspired 90-Day Breakthrough, a mind-body wellness and exercise lifestyle program. The Healthy Initiative is currently looking for about 40 Chicagoans who are dedicated not only to losing weight but also to embracing a healthy lifestyle (obviously the most important!!). The participants will be screened and will need to have a doctor’s okay to partake in the program.
So now you’re all probably wondering what the heck SheaNetics is right? Well, first and foremost I’m going to tell you that SheaNetics was founded by Shea Vaughn (read: Vince Vaughn’s mom) but more importantly, SheaNetics is a doctor endorsed lifestyle practice that blends Eastern and Western beliefs into a total mind-body experience. The heart of SheaNetics is The 5 Living Principles of Well-Being – Commitment, Perseverance, Self-Control, Integrity and Love and the philosophy extends to include exercise in the form of yoga, pilates, tai chi, martial arts, and ballet. How cool!
The 40 participants will work out in Chicago gyms with qualified trainers, wellness specialists, and medical personnel and at the end of the program, their will be a Red Carpet Celebration for everyone involved. The event will include celebrity appearances and the participants will get to wear clothes designed by noted fashion designers. Activities will include dinner, dancing, a silent auction, and entertainment. Best of all, all proceeds and donations from the event go to the Give A Little Does A Lot foundation that funds education, fitness, and nutrition programs in schools in Chicago.
I usually don’t support diets but the Healthy Initiative is so much more than a weight loss program. It’s a program that emphasizes lifestyle change, self-love, and giving back to the community in the form of charitable donations. Losing weight isn’t just about looking good, it’s about being healthy and happy and I strongly believe the Healthy Initiative understands that. They are also not focusing solely on individuals losing weight but also on the “big picture”, the nation’s obesity epidemic. I really like that.
So how can you help the Healthy Initiative? Well, currently they’re still looking for participants to join the 90-day Challenge so if you know of anyone who might be interested, please share this opportunity with them. You can also look into becoming a sponsor by filling out the contact information on the Healthy Initiative website. Feel free to e-mail me with any questions as well!!
*This is all from the CDC but if you want more information on childhood obesity/the obesity epidemic, I have a lot of articles that I can send you (left over from my MPH). Just let me know!!
**Note I am not participating in this but just wanted to share the opportunity