Mission Meltaway Is On It's "Weigh" In Broome County

     BINGHAMTON, NY - The Broome County Health Department's STEPS TO A HEALTHIER NY initiative is on a "mission" to reduce obesity and diabetes in our community by providing residents with an opportunity to enroll in a free healthy weight education program called Mission Meltaway.

Mission Meltaway, nationally recognized and originally founded by the Broome County Office for Aging, is an eight-week healthy weight management education session with a group approach to weight loss. In one representative Mission Meltaway session 91 of the 100 participants lost weight after the 4-week "jump start" program. Sixty-five percent increased their physical activity levels, and 100 percent increased their knowledge of good nutrition and exercise.

The eight-week program will incorporate diabetes prevention strategies related to improved nutrition and increased physical activity to initiate and reinforce lifestyle changes. Group supported meetings will cover a range of topics including menu planning, nutrition, physical activity, and mental health. There will be opportunities to: enroll in BC Walks, participate in the "Give Me 5" fruit and vegetable awareness campaign, listen to a host of expert speakers, and receive incentives, such as pedometers. Steps partners will be providing free services to participants enrolled in the program as well. The Broome County YMCA will be offering free eight-week memberships, and the Central New York Kidney Foundation will provide all participants with a comparison of "before and after" physical assessments such as blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), hip to waist ratio and weight.

"Chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease that are prompted by obesity are crippling us both medically and financially," says Mary McFadden, Supervising Public Health Educator for the Broome County Health Department. National costs associated with treating obesity have recently been recorded at approximately $117 million dollars, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The mental and physical costs associated with overweight and obese individuals affect every part of our society. "We need to take personal and social responsibility for our own health and that of our community," says McFadden. "Mission Meltaway is just one of several intervention strategies in the STEPS TO A HEALTHIER NY initiative related to reducing the burden of obesity and diabetes," McFadden concluded.

Mission Meltaway programs will be offered beginning in July in various settings in Broome County including faith based centers, senior centers, and worksites. The participating community sites are as follows: Broome County YMCA, Southern Tier Independence Center, Mental Health Association, Broome County Government (employees), Office for Aging Eastern Broome Senior Center, Lourdes Hospital (employees), and Union Center Christian Church, led by the Rural Health Network of South Central New York.

The YMCA West, will hold their Mission Meltaway "Kick-off Bash" on Thursday, July 15, from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m., at 740 Main Street, Johnson City.

For more information on how county residents can enroll in Mission Meltaway, contact Mary McFadden at 607.778.3929.