Upcoming health program offers healthy living tips

Brandie Richardson @B_lifestyles

     GONZALES –  A New Year is among us, bringing in a fresh batch of New Year’s resolutions. The most common resolution is to get in shape and lose weight. Along with the New Year, January is also National Healthy Weight Awareness Month, a month dedicated to physical activity to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

     According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, benefits of a regular exercise program include controlled weight, reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, reduced risk for some cancers, strengthened bones and muscles, improvement to mental health and mood and increased chances of a longer life.

     St. Elizabeth Hospital and Ascension Parish Library have teamed up to aid the community in their quest to get fit with their new eight-week healthy living course, Operation Change.

     Healthcare professionals from St. Elizabeth Hospital will teach participants different healthy living techniques each week. Curriculum topics include Prescription for Change, How to Make Healthy Choices, The Role of Exercise in Health, The Role of Nutrition, Stress Management, Self Care and Supporting Change, said St. Elizabeth Hospital Orthopedic Nurse Charla Johnson.

     “Anybody will be able to participate at their own level,” Johnson said, who is also the trainer for the course. “Hopefully everyone will be engaging and taking advantage, weather dependent, on some of our walking paths that are in our Parish. Hopefully people will gain through the curriculum that they will be able to see some weight management and even weight loss by understanding how to read labels, understanding how to make healthier choices, looking at their own lifestyle and behavior changes.”

     Johnson added that after the eight-week course is completed, trainers will use the information they gained during the course to offer for one-on-one training sessions within the community.

     “The goal is to see how this curriculum works, how did people do with it and measure its success,” she said. “Then replicate it and do train-to-trainer modules throughout the Parish, whether it's state based organizations or other organizations could send a trainer, and St. Elizabeth as a hospital would train them and then we can see a wave of health improvements in our community. That is the biggest goal.”

     Operation Change will begin on Jan. 11 and run through March 7, with the exception of Jan. 18, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Those interested in the course can register by calling the hospital at (225) 621-2906.