March 31, 2004 | By: Laura Skillman

LaRue County is some 370 pounds lighter today thanks to a collaborative program aimed at improving the eating habits of residents and getting them moving.

The eight-week program ended this month, but participants say they have the initiative to continue with what they learned in the weekly sessions.

Delores and Charles Bale have always been active people and participated in the program for their health and to get some exercise.

“This is the off season, from Thanksgiving to about this time in late winter, it’s the weight gain season so I’m trying to come up with some activities to get and keep my weight down until spring,” Charles Bale said. “During the springtime that’s generally not a problem but during this off season, I definitely need the help.”

Delores Bale said they did very well with the program and would encourage others to participate in similar program.

“I only lack two pounds reaching my goal,” she said. “But we’ve had three birthdays and company for a week.”

The program, in its first year in the county, was a collaborative effort between the LaRue Countyoffice of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service , LaRue County Health Department and LaRue County Schools Community Education program.

The event was held at two locations each Thursday – the Buffalo Baptist Church and the LaRue County Board of Education. Participants could walk before and after class at both locations, which is one reason these two locations were selected.

Theresa Howard, LaRue County Extension agent for family and consumer sciences, said the program is based on a program developed by a Bardstown hospital.

“It’s just a healthy weight management series of classes,” she said. “We’ve had different speakers each week."

Exercise also is an important aspect of the program.

“We are trying to encourage them to get more physical activity every week,” Howard said.

Seventy-one people have attended at least one of the sessions and about half have attended on a regular basis. The participants had a goal of a 7 percent weight loss set by Roxanne True, registered dietitian with the Lincoln Trail District Health Department. Eight people met that goal during the program.

“We encouraged them to work toward this because that is the type of weight loss that would make a difference in their cholesterol levels, blood pressure and would help those with diabetes maintain blood sugar levels,” Howard said.

Participants were encouraged to weigh in weekly but did not have to. Those that did lost a collective 370.5 pounds.

Howard said based on feedback from participants they hope to hold the program on an annual basis. After reviewing the program evaluations, they will determine what, if anything, to change.

The program, she said, coordinates well with UK ’s efforts through Get Moving Kentucky! Using weekly updates in the local newspaper and emphasizing physical activity in the program, helped to increase awareness of that program and of the weight problems of many Kentuckians, she said.



Writer: Laura Skillman 270-365-7541 ext. 278
Source: Theresa Howard 270-358-3401