'Healthy Medina' challenges participants to make beneficial lifestyle choices.
Reprinted from cleveland.com
- April 29, 2019
Medina County is making strides in becoming a "Healthy Community," thanks to a collaborative countywide effort to help people make healthy lifestyle choices.
It appears to be working well for Betty DeMatteo, who was looking for a way to stay active after retiring from a job that required her to walk an average of 19,000 steps a day. Since joining the
Healthy Medina program
in 2018, she's lost 23 pounds and gained some new friends.
"Betty is just one of 69 people who recently completed our 8-week Melt Down weight loss health challenge," says Sarah Arend, program manager, regional government and community relations at Cleveland Clinic Medina Hospital. "Together, they lost 462 pounds, and most participants were able to lower their blood pressure, blood sugar or cholesterol levels."
The Melt Down is just one of many ongoing programs offered in Healthy Medina, a countywide partnership to educate, encourage and empower residents to incorporate overall health and wellness practices into daily life. All Medina County residents and
businesses are eligible to participate in the program, which is overseen by
Cleveland Clinic Medina Hospital
"I took part in every program offered in 2018," says Betty. "I want to stay active and keep my weight, blood pressure and cholesterol numbers down. Healthy Medina helps with both through education and exercise."
The City of Medina has been involved since the program was developed in 2012, with city employees encouraged to join Healthy Medina and receive health screenings, develop a wellness plan and see savings in the cost of the health insurance.
"Healthy Medina is a great way for Medina Hospital and the caregivers here to support and give back to the community. We have some great information about how to live healthy, and it's important we share that," says Dr. Richard Shewbridge, an endocrinologist who is the president of Cleveland Clinic Medina Hospital.
"They are a great resource and a win for all. Participants achieve better health and insurance costs go down," says Dr. Shewbridge.
Cleveland Clinic's Healthy Community initiative is currently operating in 15 different northeast Ohio communities.
"With Healthy Medina, we offer three formal programs each year. Next up is the CHEFs edition, which stands for Cook Healthy Eat Fresh," says Arend. "Weekly sessions will feature local chefs sharing healthy food preparation tips, Cleveland Clinic physicians presenting on different topics and a local farmer who participates in the community farmers market and more."
For each 8-week program, Cleveland Clinic provides the programming and the rec center provides access to fitness classes. Between programs, participants can purchase a discounted pass which gives them ongoing and unlimited access to exercise classes.
A series of health screenings are done at the beginning and end of each program to track results, along with weekly weigh-ins.
"It's all about motivation. We're here to escort participants from where they are to the next positive step," says Arend. "We teach (skills), so when participants are no longer coming to a session every week, they know what to do on their own. We give them the right tools so they can make healthier choices."
Like many who live in northeast Ohio, program participant Pat Yankovic struggles during our dreary winters, turning into what she calls a 'couch layer'. She noticed she was gaining an average of three pounds a year.
"Over several years, those three pounds add up," she says. "I began having pain in my feet - my body was telling me to do something. I saw an article in the paper about
and decided to give it a try."
Pat works full time and admits it's not always easy to fit in exercise around work. However, she is the proud recipient of the third-place prize for total number of exercise class hours completed during the Melt Down.
Participants can also take advantage of wellness programs done in partnership with other entities including Medina County parks and libraries. "I find the education as beneficial as the exercise. They provide great opportunities to learn from experts on various topics," says Pat.
There are many options available as part of Healthy Medina. "It doesn't necessarily have to be a long-term commitment. Offerings include weekend 'walk with a doc' sessions in our parks, and a variety of healthy cooking classes at our libraries - it's a something for everyone approach," says Dr. Shewbridge.
"Healthy Medina" is a collaborative countywide effort to encourage healthy lifestyle choices. Pictured, left to right, are: Sarah Arend, program manager, regional government and community relations, Cleveland Clinic Medina Hospital; Richard Shewbridge, MD, President, Medina Hospital, and Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell.
Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a child, with doctors and medical care a constant throughout his life. He was a little shocked to learn how many city employees did not even have a doctor.
"We offered the incentive of a reduced cost for health insurance to employees who participated. The first couple of years, we saw an increase in diagnoses of things like diabetes and high blood pressure that people didn't even know they had," says Mayor Hanwell. "Since then, we've seen lots of numbers coming down, from weight, blood pressure and body mass index to insurance premiums, which today are much less than where we were three years ago."
At a recent presentation to the city's safety council, Mayor Hanwell shared some individual success stories of Healthy Medina participants including an amputee who had not done much but sit on the couch. After joining the program, the individual had a prosthetic leg made so he could begin walking and exercising regularly again. He has since received a second prosthetic that allows him to jog.
Another Medina resident had not been receiving routine mammograms. Thanks to Healthy Medina, she learned about the importance of preventive screenings and a screening mammogram showed a cancerous mass that was successfully removed.
"If not for her involvement in Healthy Medina, it's likely her cancer would not have been found and treated," says Mayor Hanwell.
"Healthy Medina" is a collaborative countywide effort to encourage healthy lifestyle choices. Pictured, left to right, are: Sarah Arend, program manager, regional government and community relations, Cleveland Clinic Medina Hospital; Richard Shewbridge, MD, President, Medina Hospital, and
Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell.