St. Vincent program to end childhood obesity takes family approach

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The L.I.F.E. program at St. Vincent is putting an end to childhood obesity by changing the attitude of an entire family.

David Creel, a weight management coordinator with Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent, said the program is about putting the family on a path to better health.

“Our goal is to stop that trajectory of weight gain and have them learn some strategies to manage their weight gain long term,” Creel said.

The L.I.F.E. program lasts one year. It examines current weight management behaviors and encourages changes by promoting a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Participants receive one-on-one training, but there are also monthly group activities. They also earn rewards for completing their goals, or ‘assignments.’

Joe Raymond and his son, Christopher, have been in the program since July. Joe has lost more than 80 pounds. As for Christopher, he’s more active and making better decisions in the lunch line.

“Christopher has moved from ice cream and pizza to vegetables and health snacks and that sort of thing. So, it’s moving into his day-to-day choices,” Joe said.

Christopher is using that healthy diet to fuel his love of biking. He even competed in the Tour de Carmel this past year. As if that wasn’t enough, he biked an extra seven miles after the race!

“I remember way back at the beginning, when (I was) doing 2.5 miles, (it) was just too much for me. Now, I’m doing 27-mile bike rides,” Christopher said.

Yet, with all the positive steps already taken, Christopher is still excited for what the future holds.

“I feel like I still have progress to make, but I’m getting better at maintaining my goals and getting them accomplished, and that just leads to more progress,” he said.

To learn more about the L.I.F.E. program, visit the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital website.

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