Four families are tackling the challenge of living healthier lifestyles as part of Lexington Family Magazine’s Fit Family Challenge, and luckily they have a trusted program on their side.
Challenge sponsor Family Practice Associates recruited KC WELLNESS, INC. of Lexington to devise a medically supervised weight loss management program.
President Carol Donnelly of KC WELLNESS developed, “Learn. Live. Lose.,” a research-based, multi-faceted approach that develops healthy habits that can last a lifetime.
A building block of the program is the DASH Diet, which stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.” It includes meals heavy in grains, vegetables and fruit.
FPA test-ran the program with 20 staff members to great success. Now, it is available to the public and the Fit Family Challenge families.
Donnelly, a Certified Health Education Specialist, formed KC WELLNESS (which stands for Knowledge + Commitment = Wellness) in 1995 to empower adults on the job to live healthier lifestyles.
“I saw a need for health education in the worksite environment,” she said.
Donnelly had worked at the University of Kentucky for eight years in high-risk obesity treatment and with county health departments providing health education.
KC WELLNESS’ clients include 3M in Cynthiana, Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities, Clark Material Handling and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.
Her company designs and staffs comprehensive wellness programs, including Health Risk Assessments, on-site screenings for body mass index, blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol.
The company also provides follow-up education and lifestyle improvement programs, including health coaching in person and by phone.
Donnelly recognizes that Americans live in toxic environments, full of high-fat, high-salt, low-nutrient food.
Another challenge is decreased activity due to technological advances that don’t encourage movement.
Companies can make their environment healthier by supporting movement.
She encourages employees to take walks during breaks in the work day.
When providing food, employers can skip pizza and choose healthier options.
At home, parents should be healthy role models for their children.
Making a family meal can seem like a chore, but a home-cooked meal makes a huge difference in developing good habits for children.
“It’s about priorities,” she says. “We choose what to do with our time.”