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• Collaboration with CDC’s Steps to a Healthier US, in which VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) are partnering with local and state groups on community-based programs such as “Walk and Roll” events that address physical inactivity and poor nutrition.

• Fitness for Life Volunteer Corps in which veterans are called to lead their families and other members of the community to join together in developing programs to increase physical activity and improve their health.

Major Risks

Dr. Kinsinger said the program is targeting veterans everywhere because the high percentage of those who are overweight or obese are at major risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, heart diseases, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and respiratory problems, joint pain and some types of cancer.

She said good nutrition and regular physical activity can help individuals have more energy, sleep better, reduce body fat and weight gain, control blood sugar, lower blood pressure, decrease “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and increase “good” cholesterol (HDL).

On the MOVE!

The MOVE! program has been especially successful in helping veterans at medical facilities make needed lifestyle changes. Dr. Ken Jones, Program Manager for MOVE!, said the number of veterans who have asked to receive MOVE! -related care to date is rapidly increasing, with many thousands of them participating.

There are MOVE! coordinators at each VA medical facility as well as at each network. Physicians, nurses, and dietitians work in concert with physical activity specialists and psychologists to administer the program.

Ellen Bosley, National Director of Nutrition and Food Services, said the program was developed to provide practical ways for veterans to improve their nutrition, while also increasing their exercise.

“We wanted to promote a program in which dietitians work with other primary care staff to help our veterans understand the need for eating behavior modification and increased physical activity,” Bosley said.

The basic MOVE! program begins with supported self-management, in which participants who are recommended for the program work with MOVE! team members to develop a plan to change their eating behavior, improve their nutrition and increase their exercise. MOVE! staff continue to keep in touch with veterans to help them track progress and set new goals, as they meet current ones.

The individually tailored program allows the patient to determine the level of involvement. Some veterans also participate in regular group sessions and may receive individual specialty consultations. For those veterans needing additional treatment, more intensive options, including medications and surgery, are also available.

For more information, log onto www.move.va.gov, where a questionnaire helps identify personal barriers to weight control. The questions link to about 100 informational materials on the site. People not enrolled in VA health care can take the information about themselves to their personal health care providers.

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