By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – The Miriam Hospital’s Weight Management Program reached an important milestone this month: 25 years of helping more than 10,000 patients safely lose a combined half-million pounds, or 250 tons.
The program provides comprehensive, medically supervised treatment for mild, moderate and severely overweight adults that combines medical monitoring, behavior therapy, exercise instruction, three levels of calorie reduction and nutrition education.
“Obesity is a complex issue and, unfortunately, there is no ‘magic bullet’ that can ‘cure’ it, but as the obesity epidemic continues, we’re finding more and more patients are now willing to take action and seek treatment to address their weight,” said Dr. Vincent J. Pera, program director. “What our program provides are the tools, resources and information that patients need to control their weight, improve their health and transform their lives.”
Obesity rates continue to soar nationwide, especially in Rhode Island. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 39 percent of Rhode Islanders are considered overweight and another 22 percent are considered obese.
In addition, a new report released this fall by the Trust for American’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation suggests that half of all Rhode Island adults will be obese by 2030.
Because obesity can be influenced by genetic, physical, behavioral or psychological issues, Pera said sustained, healthful weight loss requires a combination of medical and social support to help patients alter their nutrition, lifestyle and physical exercise.
The Miriam Hospital’s Weight Management Program offers a multidisciplinary approach to treatment, providing patients with a treatment team of physicians, psychologists, physician assistants, nurses, nutritionists and exercise physiologists who have training, expertise and interest in treating obesity.
“As is true for the thousands of individuals who have entered our program, successful weight management is a lifelong endeavor that requires hard work, commitment, discipline and the strength to overcome inevitable setbacks that will occur along the way,” said Pera.
In this YouTube video, participants in the program spoke about their experience.