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Winter CHIP Program Starting Jan. 18

      Nearly a year later, John Freshour of Greeneville is still enjoying the benefits of healthier living, as a result of participating in the Coronary Health Improvement Project (CHIP).

      Freshour, a vice president at Heritage Bank, said he has lost 35 pounds and continues to keep it off. “The weight coming off has been great, but I am even more pleased that I now feel much better and I am down to a half-pill daily for my blood pressure,” Freshour said. “Some people ask how I have lost the weight and I respond ‘by eating healthfully.’”

      Freshour noted that he was taking two blood pressure pills a day before starting CHIP in Jan. 2009. “CHIP is a life-changing program because I can eat until I’m full as long as I make good choices,” he said. “I now know what is good for me to eat and what is bad. I learned how to read food labels.”

      Now in its eighth year in Greeneville, CHIP will resume Jan. 18, 2010.

      The lifestyle health program targets people who have or wish to avoid heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. “CHIP continues to be offered because we’ve seen it work,” Lynda Nelson, the local CHIP director, said. “People feel better and lower their health risks as the result of this program.”

     CHIP is patterned after national live-in programs, such as the Nathan Pritikin Longevity Center, that lasts three to six weeks and costs thousands of dollars.

    “One great side effect of the program is that participants lose unhealthy weight,” Nelson said. “But they gain so much more – they gain knowledge about how to live healthier.”

       Free introductory classes to CHIP will be offered at Takoma Regional Hospital at the Everett and Carolyn Coolidge Volunteer Conference Center on Jan. 7 at noon and again on Jan. 11 and 12 at 7 p.m. Introductory classes also will be offered at the YMCA on Jan. 11 at noon and at the Greeneville Seventh-day Adventist Church fellowship hall on Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. Attendance at one of these sessions is required for registration.

       The five-week CHIP program will be offered Jan. 18-Feb. 18 at the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s fellowship hall on the Asheville Highway.

      The program begins and ends with special “heart screenings,” which include bloodwork, and help measure progress. Participants also learn how to make healthy food choices, as well as the importance of a regular fitness program.

       “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. “We would particularly encourage young parents to learn the principles of healthful living so they can influence the next generation, which at this point is projected to have a shorter life-span than their predecessors.”

       Cost for CHIP is $190 per person or $290 per couple. Registered nurses can receive up to 16 hours of continuing education credit by attending CHIP.

        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. You may also visit the CHIP website at Brochures also are available at Takoma Regional Hospital.