January 8, 2008

State Employees Eligible for $100 Discount on UAMS Weight Loss Program

LITTLE ROCK – With many people making New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, Arkansas state employees who enroll this month are eligible for a $100 discount on the medically supervised weight loss program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).


 


Hundreds of patients have experienced the value of the UAMS Program for Weight Loss and Metabolic Control including many, like former Gov. Mike Huckabee, who have lost more than 100 pounds. The multi-faceted program includes guidance for dietary change, behavior modification and nutrition education, all conducted under medical supervision. The program is designed to assist people with not only dramatic weight loss but the medical consequences of weight loss.


 


The January discount could make the more than 10-year-old program more accessible to the 53,000 state employees. To sign up for a program seminar and take advantage of the $100 savings, contact the weight loss program at 501-603-1497.


 


“As the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, UAMS has a responsibility to improve health care in Arkansas and the health benefits of losing weight are well documented,” said Vitaly Kantorovich, M.D., medical director for the weight loss program and an assistant professor in the UAMS College of Medicine. “We are hopeful the discount encourages more people to consider starting the program as an effective path to a healthy weight.”


 


There are three phases of the weight loss program, following a comprehensive medical exam that will determine the patient’s health risk. Initially, a nutritionally balanced, low-fat diet is introduced with meal replacement supplements.


 


Program participants are closely monitored through twice monthly medical exams – depending on health risk – and weekly weigh-ins along with classes in nutrition and behavior modification. Behavioral changes are vital to lasting lifestyle changes, Kantorovich said, as they offer tactics for developing new food and time priorities.


 


Nutrition information empowers program participants to track calorie intake and understand habits that can affect appetite. Information on fitness is available to help participants develop an exercise plan. Kantorovich said physical activity is another important element to weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight.


 


When the participant closes in on their goal weight, regular foods will be gradually re-introduced into the diet. The physician, along with a dietitian, will assist the re-introduction of various foods and combinations to suit individual needs.


 


Individual medical problems are handled in close communication with the participant’s primary care physician. Medical specialists also can manage diseases that often accompany being overweight, including diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.


 


The $100 discount is off the $300 program fee that covers the first 24 weeks’ participation in the program, along with class materials and access as necessary to a registered dietitian. The other initial costs for the program include $150 for an initial medical visit and $100 for lab tests to document the patient’s medical history and condition for developing a customized weight loss plan. There is a $99 charge for the first week of meal replacements.


 


Subsequent meal replacements are available for $33 per box, which includes 15 servings. The weekly or twice monthly follow up visits are $100 each, covering the medical consultation and lab tests.


 


Seminars to learn about the weight loss program are held at 6 p.m. every Thursday in the Walton Auditorium on the 10th Floor of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute on the UAMS campus.


 


For more information on the weight loss program, visit http://weight.uams.edu.


 


UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has 2,538 students and 733 medical residents. Its centers of excellence include the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. It is one of the state’s largest public employers with about 9,600 employees, including nearly 1,000 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $5 billion a year. For more information, visit www.uams.edu.