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Greater Beverly YMCA launching nutrition initiative

Posted by Terri Ogan  April 23, 2013 10:57 AM

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In order to share the vision of reducing the incidence of obesity, coronary artery disease and diabetes and, the Greater Beverly YMCA and Beverly Hospital, a member of Lahey Health, are launching a "Healthy Living & Nutrition Initiative".

This 12-week program is a comprehensive nutrition, exercise and behavioral modification program for adult members of the YMCA.

"When I took stock of the current condition of our nation's health and all that we had to offer at the Y, I believed there were ways we could go deeper and bring more to those we serve," Andrew Walker, the Y's senior director of membership and wellness, said in a recent statement. "Proper nutrition along with regular physical activity are the cornerstones to a healthy lifestyle."

Walker added that the YMCA offers many programs to keep people healthy and active, but in order to properly reach the at-risk population, employees would need to bring in the services of experienced registered dieticians to help with meal planning, in-depth, specific caloric intake recommendation and analysis of nutrients and drug interactions, he said.

The free program was made possible by a grant from the Evelyn Lilly Lutz Foundation. It is offered to members who will begin by attending an initial screening at the Greater Beverly YMCA.

Members who qualify will be scheduled for an initial visit with a dietician, followed by group classes at the facility. All YMCA members who participate in the initial screening process will be offered a courtesy appointment for basic meal planning.

After the screening determines eligibility, participants will learn about the correlation between chronic disease and nutrition, daily dietary intake, carbohydrate and calorie counting, meal planning, blood glucose monitory (if necessary), weight, waist and hip measurement, and establishment of at least one nutrition goal. This will all occur during the initial visit.

Following that first visit, group classes will be held for participants to learn sustainable healthy eating and exercise habits.

Because the goals are overall health, wellness and major disease prevention, measurable results such as weight, blood pressure and glucose levels are important to the individual, but the most important factor for success of the program is participation.

"It is our hope, through this program, that participants will have an increased sense of motivation, a safe direction for the pursuit of lifestyle changes, and a support system to sustain healthy habits long term," said Walker.

Below are the initial screening dates:
Initial Screening Dates:
• Tuesday May 7 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
• Thursday May 9 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
• Tuesday May 14 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
• Thursday May 16 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information and to signup for screenings, contact Andrew Walker at 978-564-3486, or by email at walkera@northshoreymca.org.

Terri Ogan can be reached at oganglobe@gmail.com, or follow her on Twitter.

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