This year’s Coronary Health Improvement Project (CHIP) participants lost 257 pounds and walked 3,543 miles as part of the lifestyle health program, according to its director, Lynda Nelson.
“Exercise is an important component of the program,” Nelson said. “So, as part of the program, our participants walked more than 3,500 miles – the equivalent of walking from Greeneville to Portland, Oregon.”
CHIP targets people who have or wish to avoid heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, Nelson explained.
Thirty-five people, ranging in age from 17 to 82, participated in the program. “More than 17 participants were under the age of 50,” Nelson said. “This means they are attacking health problems before the catastrophic events, such as heart attacks, strike. Many of them have families at home, so it also means that they will likely avoid childhood obesity problems.”
Participants also saw their cholesterol levels drop an average of 8.5 percent, which cuts cardiovascular disease by 25 percent, Nelson said. “Seven participants dropped more than 30 points,” she noted.
Blood sugars of participants dropped an average of 16 percent, enabling several people to cut their diabetic medications.
Blood pressure also dropped, with those participants with the highest starting blood pressure dropping 10-15 percent.
“Many other good things happened, including improved acid reflux, joint pain relieved, improved sleep patterns, better outlook on life and tobacco cessation,” Nelson said.
The month-long CHIP program was offered Jan. 19-Feb. 19 at the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is now entering its eighth year in Greeneville.
“In a nation overwhelmed by chronic lifestyle disease and increasing childhood obesity, I am thankful to be part of a program like CHIP that offers better health to our community,” Nelson said.
She also thanked the 40 community volunteers who provided light suppers for participants, helped with exercise and demonstrations, and conducted small group discussions.
For more information on CHIP, which receives financial support from Takoma Regional Hospital, please call Lynda Nelson at 638-6633 or Peggy West at 638-7804. Brochures also are available at Takoma Regional Hospital.