Baptist Health Continues To Battle Arkansas’ Obesity Problem One Pound At A Time, One Program At A Time

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. According to a recent report, Arkansas is tied for third in the U.S. for obesity. Baptist Health, which has partnered with Gov. Asa Hutchinson to support the Healthy Active Arkansas initiative, continues to implement programs focused on tipping the scales in favor of slimmer figures.

“Baptist Health is committed to a healthier Arkansas,” said Troy Wells, president, and CEO of Baptist Health, who also serves as board president of Healthy Active Arkansas. “In addition to treating illnesses, we also want to promote wellness and prevention. Baptist Health is a proud supporter of Healthy Active Arkansas and any services and programs designed to promote healthier lifestyles where you live, work, and play.”

In fact, Baptist Health has more than a dozen services and programs designed specifically for weight loss and encouraging healthier lifestyles for all ages. Among them are sponsored walking paths at local malls and the Little Rock zoo; a free community walking program; professionally supervised weight-loss programs for teens and adults; We Can!, a program that provides nutrition and physical education at schools and community centers; the Sister-to-Sister weight management program; local farmers markets; free fresh produce and cooking demonstrations for “food insecure” or “food desert” areas of the state; a bicycle rental program in Conway; sponsored marathons and bike races; diabetes and weight-loss support groups; exercise classes and free educational materials such as guides for hiking and bike trails and eating out and online resources such as healthy recipesquizzes, and risk assessments.

Stories like Jason Stormoe’s, who has lost nearly 200 pounds through the Baptist Health Weight Loss Program, is just one of many inspirational stories of Arkansans whose lives have been changed by these and other programs that can be found on the Baptist Health website.

As part of the Baptist Health BHealthy culture, system employees have an opportunity to participate in biometric screenings to learn their total cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, and BMI. Employee discounts are also offered for local fitness centers, and more healthy food options are offered in the cafeterias.

Baptist Health is an Arkansas-based, locally owned and managed, not-for-profit, and faith-based healthcare organization. Baptist Health is also Arkansas’ most comprehensive healthcare organization with more than 9,100 employees operating nine hospitals. For more information about Baptist Health, call Baptist Health HealthLine at 1-888-BAPTIST.

Summary of Services Offered

MALL WALKING PROGRAM Baptist Health Amazing Mile program offers two safe paths – one and two miles – located at The Promenade at Chenal in Little Rock. The free program includes a quarterly e-newsletter and fitness gift. Baptist Health provides designated walking routes at both McCain and Park Plaza malls along with free blood pressure machines.

COMMUNITY WALKING PROGRAM Baptist Health Community Walking program is a walking incentive program designed to provide individuals 18 and older at the community level with skills, tools, and resources needed to plan and track daily walking habits, and to make walking a permanent part of a healthy lifestyle. Participants are provided with a Walker Starter Kit (walking log, pedometer, water bottle, T-shirt and health educational materials) and encouraged to increase their daily steps by at least 500 steps per day. Quarterly educational classes on nutrition and physical activity are offered in addition to a monthly newsletter and incentives.

WEIGHT-LOSS PROGRAM Baptist Health’s Weight Loss Program is an individualized, non-surgical way to shed pounds and combat common weight-related issues such as heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and joint pain. Registered nurses, exercise physiologists, and wellness professionals oversee and meet with participants weekly.

HEALTHY AND ACTIVE YOUTH PROGRAM Baptist Health Healthy and Active Youth Program is a free 10-week program that addresses the obesity issues in youth ages 11 to 17. Multifaceted, it includes exercise training, nutritional counseling, behavioral counseling, and medical management.

Participants may be referred by physicians, their school nurses or they may self-refer. Initial assessments include medical, fitness, psychological and nutritional testing. Baseline labs at the onset will measure the success and effectiveness of the program. Weekly visits monitor progress, evaluate food and exercise logs, and learn proper exercise techniques.  Education is provided on healthy snacks, appropriate physical activity, making healthy choices by reading labels, portion control, cooking skills and family-friendly activities that are local and affordable.

WE CAN! We Can!® (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition) is a science-based, turn-key national education program that has grown into a national movement designed to give parents, caregivers, and entire communities a way to help children and families stay at a healthy weight. Various components include:

  • CATCH® Kids Club – six-session program adopted from The Child and Adolescent Trial for Cardiovascular Health (CATCH), an NHLBI-funded study, motivates heart-healthy behavior in children in grades K-5 in school, after-school and summer camp settings. Children are introduced to healthy eating and physical fitness through activities and games.
  • Media-Smart Youth: Eat, Think, and Be Active!® – An interactive 10 to 12 session education program that focuses on building skills in media analysis and media production to help young people ages 11 to 13 understand the complex media world around them and how it can influence their health—especially in regard to nutrition and physical activity. Media-Smart Youth helps empower young people to think critically about media and make thoughtful decisions about nutrition and physical activity through education sessions, action breaks, snacks breaks, and mini-media productions.
  • We Can! ®Energize Our Families: Parent Program – two-session program for parents and caregivers encourages a healthy weight for the family through nutrition and physical fitness activities and discussions in a community setting.
  • EatPlayGrow – An interactive program targeting 3 to 4-year-olds in a daycare setting features 11 lessons that incorporate art-making, music and movement activities into fun, hands-on educational lessons about the importance of making positive choices in areas that most affect health: nutrition, physical activity, and, based on emerging medical research, sleep.
  • We Can!® CATCH® Kids Club Train the Trainer sessions have been conducted for 22 Baptist Health Medical Center-Hot Spring County and Baptist Health Medical Center-Heber Springs staff members. The Community Outreach department has partnered with the Arkansas Department of Health and trained seven Department of Health employees to further efforts in reaching more youth.

SISTER-TO-SISTER PROGRAM Sister to Sister: Move More, Eat Better is a program designed to encourage women, especially African-American women, to maintain a healthy weight by becoming more physically active and eating healthier foods. The program is neither a “speedy weight-loss” program nor a “faddish diet,” but is designed to influence behavior through education. The nine-session program includes pre- and post-biometric screenings, three nutrition classes (nutrition basics, grocery store tour and cooking demonstration) and three physical activity classes (physical activity basics and two group exercise classes) and concludes with a healthy celebratory dinner. The program is held throughout the year at various Baptist Health Community Wellness Centers.

FARMERS MARKETS Farmers markets are held throughout the summer on hospital campuses in Little Rock, North Little Rock and Conway providing local residents and employees convenient access to fresh locally grown produce.

CHARITY FOOD BOX PROGRAM Charity Food Box Program provides fresh, healthy produce sourced from the Farmers Market into high-need, low-income neighborhoods, and communities around the state.

CONWAY BICYCLE PROGRAM This program extends the benefits of bike-sharing — long considered exclusively a big-city amenity — to Conway. The initial phase of the program will offer 20 cruiser bikes available at five stations across the city to use for on-demand, local trips. Baptist Health has made a three-year commitment to be the presenting sponsor of the program.

EVENT SPONSORSHIPS Baptist Health sponsorships support healthy lifestyles. They include Race for the Cure, Little Rock Marathon, Big Dam Bridge 100, Toad Suck Daze 10K, and Downtown Dash.