A Better Tomorrow

Catching the Eye of the Surgeon General

By Heidi Greenwaldt, MS, RD, LD, CNSC
March 5th, 2013

The author, Heidi Greenwaldt (right), with the Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin (left).

I had the honor of meeting the Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin at an exciting event called the Healthy Minnesota: Communities in Action forum. It’s mission? 40 initiatives aimed at improving the health of Minnesotans.

Dr. Benjamin praised Minnesota’s efforts as models for the rest of the country and shared other inspiring examples of communities contributing to a healthier nation. Working within our cities and towns to better our communities is also part of Sodexo’s Better Tomorrow mission.

We have been running the Create Your Weight Program at the University of Minnesota Medical Center for 5 years with excellent participation rates and results.

It is a comprehensive weight loss and healthy living program consisting of 11 weeks of 60 minute sessions. The classes consist of a multidisciplinary approach with dietitians, exercise physiologists and chef presentations as well as group activities.

One unique aspect of the program is metabolic testing done on each participant to provide them with an individualized resting metabolic rate and percentage of body fat.

We have held 51 sessions over the past 5 years. To date, 723 participants have enrolled with approximately 25% being Fairview employees. Average weight loss over the 11 weeks is 7 pounds and the average “waist reduction” is 2 inches. Research shows that weight loss of 5-7% can improve health risks and reduce insurance costs.

Participants have found the class life-changing. Some feedback that we have received includes:

“I feel this is a lifestyle change and I found out what I need to do to lose weight and maintain it without having to buy things or spend a lot of money to achieve my goal.”

“It helped my health and arthritis. Got me to exercise. Got me off my medications.”

“The knowledge was terrific – much more usable information than I got from reading “nutrition for dummies”. The companionship and support was wonderful. It was also fun!”

To date, 723 participants have enrolled in the "Create Your Weight" program.

Dr. Benjamin walked by the poster (pictured on the right) and commented on the fact that the program was created by Sodexo. While she doesn’t have any personal experience with Sodexo, she is familiar with the name of the company due to some of her work with hospitals in which Sodexo has a presence. Dr. Benjamin was impressed with the outcomes of our Create Your Weight program. She provided motivation and encouraging words to continue the work that is being done to improve the health of the community and employees.

Heidi Greenwaldt is the Clinical Nutrition Manager for Sodexo at the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Fairview, Minnesota.

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