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HRH’s Healthy Lifestyle in Miles City, Baker Featured in National Health Journal

May 25, 2010

The Healthy Lifestyles Program, a cardiovascular and diabetes prevention project at Holy Rosary Healthcare in Miles City, Montana recently had its successes documented in an article published in The Journal of Rural Health, a publication of the National Rural Health Association.

Clinical trials worldwide and in the United States have demonstrated that modest weight loss and increased physical activity can reduce the incidence of diabetes by nearly 60%. In the successful US Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), participants were counseled individually to meet specific weight loss and physical activity goals.

The Healthy Lifestyles Program is a group adapted version of the DPP developed by the Healthy Native Community Partnership. The program meets for one hour each week for 16 consecutive weeks, followed by 6 monthly visits. The curriculum focuses on improved nutrition, increased physical activity, problem solving, and self monitoring.

According to Liane Vadheim, RD, LN, CDE with Holy Rosary Healthcare and lifestyle coach for the program, the publication describes the results of the first implementation of the Healthy Lifestyles Program. Out of 101 people starting the program, 84 people completed the 16 week program and 65 completed one or more of the six month follow up sessions. The average weight loss was 15 lbs and the average physical activity was 248 minutes per week, and 62% achieved the 7% DPP weight loss goal.

Bonnie Hofer, RN, who participated in the first session of the Healthy Lifestyles Program had this to say about her experience, “Healthy Lifestyles is an opportunity for each participant to explore: ‘why’ choices they have made are contributing to a less than ideal health picture; ‘how’ to make educated and informed decisions about ‘what’ works best for that individual person; and ‘support’ to change the entire mindset about daily living for the rest of one’s life. It is not a diet, quick fix, simple process or temporary change; rather, an array of possible complex choices made simply to promote ‘long term health and total well-being”.

The findings from this program suggest that providing group lifestyle change programs to residents in rural communities is an effective way to prevent diabetes and reduce cardiovascular disease risk. To expand the opportunities in southeastern Montana a pilot telehealth program in Baker, Montana was started in the fall of 2009. Holy Rosary Healthcare conducted their regular Healthy Lifestyles Program in Miles City and used videoconferencing equipment to broadcast and engage Baker participants. Baker participants achieved similar weight loss and physical activity results as those in Miles City. The information about this successful program will appear in an upcoming edition of The Diabetes Educator, a publication of the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

Baker participant, Karol Zachmann, said,“The program fit my schedule so easily. Having the telemed provided an ideal setting over the lunch hour. I could have my lunch while watching the presentations and could ask questions at any time. The onsite facilitator was able to provide any documentation or items to aid our progress. If the program would have only been offered in Miles City there is no way I could have attended cost effectively due to time constraints and travel. I absolutely enjoyed the program and would encourage people to take part in the program. This program gave me what I needed to make healthy lifestyle changes and maintain them. This program works!

The Healthy Lifestyles Program is funded, in part or in whole, under a contract with the Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes Prevention Program of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services and is one of eight sites operating in the state.

The next Healthy Lifestyles 10-month program begins in September with enrollment now available. For more information about Healthy Lifestyles Program, call Liane Vadheim, 406-853-2934 or email liane.vadheim@hrh-mt.org or call Carla McPherson, 406-233-4067 or email carla.mcpherson@hrh-mt.org. For information about the MTCVDDPP in Montana, contact Diane Arave 406-444-0593 or darave2@mt.gov.