No More Excuses: Managing the Health Crisis

In the battle against obesity and diabetes, Dr. Reed Tuckson says we can win. He’s attacking from all sides

There’s this feeling for some that being more disciplined removes the joy of eating.
All things in moderation. I watch what I eat, but I enjoy a wide variety of foods. I am attentive to how much of it I eat and how often I eat it. I also enjoy exercising. I’ve come to learn that once you get started exercising you can get hooked on it.

Being healthy is fun and eating healthy can also be fun. Eating good food cooked well is an enjoyable experience. Food that makes you sick and bloated and compromises your health—where’s the fun in that? You also don’t have to go to a gym to exercise. You can do a very good workout without expensive equipment in your living room or in your apartment. There’s no good excuse. You can get this done.

You’ve spearheaded several programs that encourage healthier behaviors.
We have two programs that we have been working on with the CDC, as well as other partners like the [YMCA] and also a series of retail pharmacy partners, called the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance. It is a diabetes prevention program working with the Y and [offers] lifestyle coaches who deliver intensive training to people in healthier eating, physical activity, and behavior modification in 16-week sessions. We make the Alliance programs available at no out-of-pocket cost to people who enroll in employer-provided health insurance plans through UnitedHealthcare and Medica in select markets. We are also offering it to other insurance companies and employer groups. By following the lifestyle coaches, we aim to encourage participants to lose 7% of their body weight and help them maintain that loss. [The program is based on the original U.S. Diabetes Prevention Program funded by the National Institutes of Health and the CDC, which showed that with lifestyle changes and modest weight reduction, a person with pre-diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of the disease by 58%.] In the diabetes control program, our retail pharmacy partners are supporting patients by providing real engagement [to help patients adhere to their treatment plans, help monitor for complications, and make sure they are taking their medications properly]. It turns out that pharmacies are a great place to assist us with education and behavior modification.

What made you consider partnering with Bronner Bros.?
We [would like] to promote the hair salon as a center for health in the black community by teaching hair salons to promote healthy hair behavior, with the goal of certifying salons as healthy hair salons, with curriculum. For some people, hair is a barrier [to exercising]. So let’s get that barrier out of the way. Let’s get the community of hair salons to reinforce each other about the right diet and right exercise, and let’s sustain that every time they come in.       

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