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Veteran’s Health Matters The Wellness Publication from the VA Sierra Pacific Network Volume 1, 2007

VA Weight Control Campaign Underway

With Super Bowl XLI now in the history books, the National Football League has concluded another season, but that’s not keeping Hall of Fame quarterback and former Super Bowl MVP John Elway off the field.

Elway, who starred as quarterback of the Denver Broncos for 16 years and was named Most Valuable Player of the 1987 NFL season and of Super Bowl XXXIII, is now featured in a series of public service announcements (PSAs) promoting the HealthierUS Veterans (HUSV) program.

The HUSV is a comprehensive weight management program sponsored by the Department of

Veterans Affairs (VA) to combat the high rates of illness among VA’s patients caused by obesity.

Shown on the gridiron of Denver’s Invesco Field at Mile High, and wearing his familiar number

7 Bronco jersey, Elway reminds veterans that taking “just a few steps can make a big difference,” and encourages them to become more active and improve their nutrition habits. The Elway PSAs can be viewed at www.healthierUSveterans.va.gov.

Dr. Linda Kinsinger, Director of the National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, which oversees the HealthierUS Veterans program, said that HUSV is a nationwide initiative sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services with the theme: “Eat Healthy! Be Active! Get Fit for Life!” The bottom-line goal is to reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes for veterans.

“This is a lifestyle and a lifelong program that is designed to help people make changes they can live with,” Dr. Kinsinger said. “We are not promoting crash diets.”

Five-Part Program

Dr. Kinsinger said HUSV is comprised of five initiatives:

• MOVE! is VA’s Weight Management Program for Veterans, and is being promoted to all overweight veterans, including those who don’t receive healthcare at VA facilities;

• Prescription for Health, in which clinicians use body mass index as the basis for providing a prescription to the participant to increase his or her physical activity by walking or rolling

(in wheelchairs) and to use a pedometer to track his or her progress;

• Fitness Challenges, which promote the President’s Challenge, in which veterans and other groups are formed to challenge each other on weight loss or physical activity and to document their progress;

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