Posted Monday, November 05, 2012
The Miriam Hospital’s Weight Management Program is celebrating an important milestone this month: 25 years of helping more than 10,000 patients safely lose a combined half million pounds, or 250 tons.
“Obesity is a complex issue and, unfortunately, there is no ‘magic bullet’ that can ‘cure’ it, but as the obesity epidemic continues, we’re finding more and more patients are now willing to take action and seek treatment to address their weight,” said Vincent J. Pera, MD, program director. “What our program provides are the tools, resources and information that patients need to control their weight, improve their health and transform their lives.”
Obesity rates continue to soar nationwide, especially in Rhode Island. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 39 percent of Rhode Islanders are considered overweight and another 22 percent are considered obese. In addition, a new report released this fall by the Trust for American’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation suggests that half of all Rhode Island adults will be obese by 2030.
Because obesity can be influenced by genetic, physical, behavioral or psychological issues, Pera said sustained, healthful weight loss requires a combination of medical and social support to help patients alter their nutrition, lifestyle and physical exercise.
The Miriam Hospital’s Weight Management Program offers a multidisciplinary approach to treatment, providing patients with a treatment team of physicians, psychologists, physician assistants, nurses, nutritionists and exercise physiologists who have training, expertise and interest in treating obesity. This team plans and administers a weight management program customized to meet the patient’s health needs.
In addition, all patients participate in a minimum of 20 weekly group sessions – although some continue with the groups even longer – that teach behavior strategies for weight loss, including managing triggers that lead to overeating, handling restaurants and social occasions, and other day-to-day situations.
“As is true for the thousands of individuals who have entered our program, successful weight management is a lifelong endeavor that requires hard work, commitment, discipline and the strength to overcome inevitable setbacks that will occur along the way,” said Pera. “That’s why we’re here for our patients even after they lose the weight, offering follow-up weight management, support and encouragement to help with their maintenance efforts.”
Arthur J. Sampson, president of The Miriam Hospital, said The Miriam Hospital’s Weight Management Program should be commended for its longstanding commitment to helping Rhode Islanders lose weight and improve their health.
“I regularly get letters from grateful patients who credit Dr. Pera and his team for literally saving their lives,” he said. “Having resources such as the Weight Management Program available here in Rhode Island will undoubtedly play an important role as our state continues to be hit hard by the obesity epidemic.”
The Weight Management Program offers an orientation session each Thursday (except major holidays) at 10:30 a.m. or 6 p.m.; attendance at an orientation session is required prior to program enrollment. To register for the next available orientation session, please call 401-444-4800. For more information about the program, please visit http://www.miriamhospital.org/weight-management or call 401-793-8790.
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